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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An NFL free agent has been arrested here in Pittsburgh and charged, after he allegedly punched a Pittsburgh Police officer several times at a downtown hotel early Monday morning.
Thirty-three-year-old Brandon Pettigrew, a former Detroit Lions player who is now a free agent tight end, is facing charges of aggravated assault, theft of services and public drunkenness.
He was arrested early Monday morning outside the Double Tree Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh, and when he was taken into custody, according to police, he was heavily intoxicated and ended up punching one of the arresting officers three times in the chest with a closed fist.
Police say Pettigrew’s troubles began when a limousine picked him up in the 1500 block of East Carson Street on the South Side. The limo driver called police when Pettigrew refused to pay a $97 fare when they returned to the Double Tree Hotel. That’s when things started getting ugly.
Herbert Joseph II was the limo driver. Joseph said he did not know who Pettigrew was when he gave him a ride after Joseph was approached by one of the officers on Carson Street.
“I knew instantly what the situation was. I could see there was a large male there. I realized he was intoxicated. I realized he needed to get away from the scene or else he was going to be arrested,” Joseph told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti.
Joseph said he left the hotel area before the former Detroit Lion struck the officer.
Police say the officer who was allegedly punched by Pettigrew was not seriously injured. They say the incident was captured on the body cameras of the three officers involved in his arrest. That video won’t be make public now.
The criminal complaint says that Pettigrew started getting belligerent, the officers threatened to use their tasers on the 6-foot-6-inch, 260-pound tight end, but the suspect finally allowed police to place him in handcuffs, and the officers did not deploy their tasers.
Pettigrew was arraigned and released from custody on non-monetary bail. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled next week.