On Saturday, July 7th news broke that Minnesota Vikings all everything running back Adrian Peterson was arrested in Houston, Texas for resisting arrest. Allegedly Peterson, his girlfriend and his family were asked to leave a night club twice by an off duty police officer (doing security for the club) only to have Peterson say that the group “had heard him the first time” then pushed the officer in the shoulder, causing the officer to stumble. It is also alleged that Peterson was visibly intoxicated and it took 3 police officers to detain him. The whole incident is on video, yet the version I watched on TMZ.com shows a club with patrons still lingering around and 3 policemen and I plain clothed officer holding Peterson trying to “escort” him out.
Before any rival NFC North fans start cracking (another) a joke about the Vikings and Peterson’s arrest, I caution that there may be more to this story. Peterson has never had any run-in’s or off the field incidents (other then a speeding ticket) during his time in the NFL. Furthermore this seems so far from his personality that it is a real head scratcher to most covering the NFL and those that know him personally. Lastly Houston Police Department is known in the entertainment and athletic circles for harassing African American and Hispanic athletes and entertainers.
I was told by a source that was there that Peterson wanted to get a glass of water before he left and was told by the off-duty officer that they had to leave immediately. That is when Peterson said that “they heard him the first time” and other words were exchanged between Peterson, his party and the officer. My source told me that Peterson was apparently (slowly) walking to the door when three other officers “ran up on him from behind and tried to detain him.” He went on to say “one police officer jumped on his back and tried to take him down but he couldn’t, so two more came to help try and bring him down. After that the remaining people in the club were all tripp’in out and it started to get crazy.”
It is fairly common for nightclubs and bars to hire off-duty police to run their security. A lot of the times the establishments will allow the security to have a drink or two (should they want one) throughout the night and allow certain people stay for “after hours” which is when the bar is closed to the public but the select few can stay and drink (normally for free) until the owner/manager decides to go home. From my experience most “celebrities” stay longer (if they do not have a security team with them) so they won’t get hassled by fans looking for an autograph or pictures.
But I digress. In Peterson’s case, from the video clip I watched, there were plenty of people in the club just hanging out. I question why Peterson was the person that officer targeted. Was it because Peterson allegedly said “that they heard him the first time”? From my experience (and I have said the same thing) if I am in a conversation about where we are going to next to eat or trying to round up my group it may take a couple minutes to get everyone together, the security would give us a minute or two then come back & insruct us to leave immediately. Why would an officer jump on his back when Peterson wasn’t expecting it? If he was slowly walking towards the door was it necessary for three police officers and an off-duty officer to bring him down and detain him? Wouldn’t Peterson walking towards the door be considered “complying”?
I’ve worked in the entertainment industry and the club scene long before and while I was in radio. I have been in plenty of bars and clubs and the security is less than polite trying to get patrons to leave and can have a short fuse, rude and have no problem getting physical with whomever doesn’t obey their commands. Before this incident happened on July 7th it is well known that the H.P.D. is a Police Department that had “Hip Hop Police” (or a police department targeted minorities that drove expensive cars or had money). The stories I was told (over the years) by friends that are in the industry had me questioning why no one has filed a complaint or went public with any claims of racial profiling against the department. After Peterson’s arrest the first thing I thought was there had to be more to this story then what is being reported, partly because of who it was being arrested and mostly because who was arresting him.
Here are a few instances of the Houston police department and their run-in’s with athletes over the years:
In 1987 when two Seattle SuperSonics players, Dale Ellis and Kevin Williams, were arrested after an altercation with the assistant manager and two Houston police officers. The owner of the club said Williams had been blocking an aisle at a waitress station, and assistant manager Scott Shelton asked him to move. When he refused, a waitress told Houston police Officers who work off-duty security jobs at the club. As they were approaching, the two officers said they saw Williams punch Shelton in the face.
The off-duty police officers asked Williams to go outside with them, but when Williams refused, they told him he was under arrest and tried to take him to a club office.They had a hard time trying to handcuff him so Ellis came over and asked if there was another way to resolve the issue. As the officers took the players back to the club office, they found out that they were members of the Sonics and told the players they could call their coach to inform him of the arrest.
Then Houston Rockets Coach Bill Fitch joked “They were arrested for what? Spitting on the sidewalk or beating us yesterday afternoon?”
This incident happened less then a year after New York Mets players Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera and second baseman Tim Teufel were arrested outside a bar, after Teufel got into a scuffle with police when he was told he could not take a drink out of the building. Darling and Teufel were fined $200 and served a month of their one-year probation before it was dismissed. Misdemeanor hindering arrest charges against Ojeda and Aguilera were dismissed.
This past June three Toronto TC (MLS) players were arrested for public intoxication after being involved with a fight at a club in Houston. The Houston Police spokesman told reporters “Our officers tried to disperse the fight at which time they refused to leave and then began to have verbal altercations with the officers. One of them ran and so the officer ran and the officer took him into custody.”
On Saturday July 7th, I tweed current Green Bay Packers Senior Personnel Executive and former University of Miami & Houston Oilers running back Alonzo Highsmith about Peterson’s arrest and the H.P.D. being “dirty” and he replied back with the following tweet:
@joearrigo remember when me and three friends pulled over with guns drawn! Report of 3 African Americans looking suspicious!! WTF
The Showtime Lakers teams were also effected by the H.P.D. James Worthy, their Hall of Fame forward, was arrested by Houston vice officers in 1990 on two counts of solicitation of prostitution and was jailed hours before the team’s game against the Rockets. Worthy was released on $500 bail and arrived in the second quarter of the Lakers/Rockets game.
Sgt. Ross Gonzales, the H.P.D. spokesperson at that time said that “At approximately 2:30 or 3 o’clock, he (Worthy) was arrested by undercover vice officers on two counts of solicitation of prostitution.” He went on to say “Our understanding is that he contacted an escort service that we monitor. Two of our vice officers responded to the request he made. He arranged a transaction, at which time they made an arrest.”
Worthy had not been in any trouble off the court before or after this situation.
The alleged racial profiling of the Houston PD reaches into the world of Hip Hop as well. A multi-platinum selling and Grammy Award winning rapper Chamillionaire wrote the song (which won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group) “Ridin (Dirty)’” about the corrupt Houston PD.
If the player (or person) that was arrested were a player (or person) with a history of violence or poor off-the field behavior it wouldn’t raise as many questions. But we are talking about the best running back in football that has only had one blemish on his off-the field history, a speeding ticket in 2009. He’s a person that takes being a role model to heart, does a lot for the communities he lives in and takes his off-the field image very seriously.
While I would dare to say Peterson would take back a few things that may have been said or how he handled the situation on July 7th, I can’t fault him for how he handled it. He wanted a glass of water and was trying to gather his group together to leave. he was walking slowly towards the door when the police tried to take him down from behind. The off-duty police officer should have granted him a couple minutes to do get his water and party together, it’s not like Peterson or his party were causing issues throughout the night.
Until all the facts come out in this case, I caution all to reserve judgement, including NFL fans, reporters and most importantly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. With his track record (something Goodell always takes into consideration) Peterson deserves to have due process and the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty. Especially with the the reputation and track record of the Houston P.D.
Average Joe Arrigo
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