DA Reducing Charges Against Steelers Assistant Coach Joey Porter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County District Attorneys office says they will only pursue summary disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness charges against Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter.

Porter was arrested Sunday night outside of a South Side bar, accused of assaulting a doorman and an off-duty police officer working a security detail.

Officers say the arrest took place around 9:30 p.m., just hours after the Steelers’ 30-12 victory over the Dolphins in the opening round of the NFL playoffs.

Porter was originally charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness.

But the Allegheny County District Attorneys office says they have reviewed the video and Porter will only face summary disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness.

“I’ve reviewed the video also. It is HD quality, and it captures the whole of the episode,” Porter’s attorney, Robert Del Greco, said, “and they determined even at a low threshold, that the charges that were filed were unwarranted.”

The District Attorneys office released this statement on Facebook:

“Today our office was able to view surveillance video showing multiple angles of the events that led to the arrest of Steelers coach Joey Porter. Following that review it is the position of the office that the only charges supported by the video are summary disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness. Our office will proceed on those charges and barring any additional evidence that is brought forward, we will withdraw the other charges at the appropriate time.”

“I can tell you that Joey was elated, heartened and relieved, as was his wife,” Del Greco said.

According to a criminal complaint, off-duty officer Paul Abel was working security at a bar on East Carson Street when he was told that the doorman at The Flats on Carson Street “was being threatened by a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

RAW VIDEO FROM THE ARREST:

Officer Abel said he arrived at the scene and found Porter “standing over” and yelling at the doorman. Porter then allegedly ignored the Officer Abel’s questions and lunged at the doorman.

Officer Abel said he pulled Porter away from the doorman. That’s when, according to the criminal complaint, Porter grabbed the officer’s wrists “so tightly that I could not pull them away from him, no matter how hard I tried.”

As he was being detained, Porter claimed he never touched the officer, but acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert believes evidence will back up the officer’s version of events.

“There is video out there and video from businesses that we are reviewing,” he said.

The officer’s body camera was not turned on until after most of the altercation.

Chief Schubert said he understands the increased attention this incident is receiving.

“He’s part of the Steeler organization, he’s high profile, obviously people are going to be interested in his arrest because of the position Mr. Porter is in.”

Mayor Bill Peduto said Porter’s case will be handled like any other.

“Public safety will never take a backseat to football, public safety comes first,” he said.

Watch Paul Martino’s report:

“[Porter] was not comfortable with the implication, especially with the four kids and being a Pittsburgher, that he was a violent individual, that he was disrespectful, that he didn’t like law enforcement, or that he would put somebody in harm’s way,” Del Greco said.

The police union is reacting to the latest news. FOP President Bob Swartzwelder called the latest development “outrageous.”

He told KDKA’s David Highfield that it’s “quite interesting that the charges against a person arrested were altered before a preliminary hearing.”

“And secondly, I would hope every other criminal defendant could expect such expedient justice… or is there something else going on here?” Swartzwelder continued.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert released a statement Monday after putting Porter on leave.

We are continuing to gather information concerning Sunday night’s incident involving Joey Porter. We have been and will continue to be in communication with the NFL as is required by the Personal Conduct Policy. Pending further review, Joey Porter has been placed on leave. At this time, we will move forward with our preparations for the Divisional Round playoff game at Kansas City.

The Steelers have not released another statement since Porter’s charges have been reduced.

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