Three Pitt football players were charged with assault and conspiracy Thursday night after police said the players surrounded a man in Oakland last month and one of them punched the man in the head.
Running back Ray Graham, 22, of Elizabeth, N.J.; wide receiver Devin Street, 21, of Bethlehem, Pa.; and defensive back Lafayette Pitts, 20, of East Pittsburgh were not arrested but will receive summonses by mail telling them to report to court Jan. 9 for a preliminary hearing.
In a written statement today, Pitt said the three "have denied any involvement with the situation and have offered to speak with authorities, although to date they have not been questioned or received any court documents.
"We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation," the statement continued. "However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these misdemeanor allegations. All three players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on this situation."
Pittsburgh police wrote in a criminal complaint that they were working an overtime detail early Oct. 21 when they tried to disperse a crowd from the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Bates Street and three people remained in the roadway.
One those people, Karl Olsheski, told police he had just been assaulted. He refused medical treatment and said he did not want to file a report; he just wanted officers to stop the man who had punched him, according to the criminal complaint.
In an interview with police, Olsheski said he was walking in Oakland with two women when Graham stopped him, said, "What's up?" and uttered a racial slur. Olsheski said that he replied "nothing" and tried to leave, but Graham, Street and Pitts surrounded him and then Street slugged him on the left side of the head, according to the criminal complaint.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org and 412-263-1438. First Published November 3, 2012 4:30 AM