Court documents reveal new details about arrest of Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter
January 9, 2017 8:41 AM
Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison walks with outside linebackers coach Joey Porter during practice last month on the South Side.
By Liz Navratil / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter argued with the doorman at a South Side bar Sunday night and then struggled with an officer who tried to intervene, according to court documents.
Mr. Porter, 39, also a former player for the team, was arraigned shortly before 2 a.m. today on charges of assault, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Court records show that he posted $25,000 bail with help from an agency.
He could not immediately be reached for comment. A woman who answered the door at Mr. Porter's home in Bradford Woods this morning said they were not interested in talking.
According to a criminal complaint filed early today, Pittsburgh police Officer Paul Abel was working an off-duty assignment at a bar in the South Side when another off-duty officer informed him that "the doorman for the Flats, located at 1500 E. Carson St., was being threatened by a Pittsburgh Steeler."
Officer Abel wrote that he went to the Flats and saw Mr. Porter "standing over the door man, later identified as Jon Neskow." Mr. Neskow told Mr. Porter, "Last time you (Porter) were here, you threatened to kill me. You need to leave. You are not getting in," according to the complaint.
Officer Abel wrote that he asked what was happening, but Mr. Porter did not respond and several men, who are not identified in court documents, said, "Officer, we got him. We got him."
"As soon as these...males stated this, Porter lunged at Neskow and grasped Neskow by his arms and lifting him up off the ground," according to the complaint.
Officer Abel wrote that he, with help from the unidentified men, grabbed Mr. Porter by the jacket to pull him off of the doorman.
"Porter let go of Neskow dropping him back down to the ground. Porter came to rest against a car parked directly in front of the establishment," according to the complaint.
The Flats bar at 1500 East Carson Street in the South Side. (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)
Officer Abel wrote that Porter, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds, grabbed him by the wrists and smelled of alcohol. Officer Abel wrote that he is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds.
"Porter informed me that he was not touching me, as he was still holding my wrists," Officer Abel wrote. He wrote that Mr. Porter then asked, "Did you hear what he (Neskow) said to me?"
The unidentified men again said, "We got him, Officer. We got him, Officer" and Mr. Porter then "suddenly released" Officer Abel and started backing away into East Carson Street, according to court paperwork.
Officer Abel wrote that he requested back-up and then unzipped his coat "allowing me access to my City of Pittsburgh issued Body Worn Camera, and activated it at this time."
Officer Abel wrote that he followed Mr. Porter until other officers arrived, and Mr. Porter shouted at various times, "No, you are going too far now" or "No! No! I didn't do anything."
After he was handcuffed, Mr. Porter yelled, 'You're lying! I never touched you," according to the complaint.
Officer Abel wrote that neither he nor the doorman were injured during the encounter, but did write that at one point, "I believed that [Mr. Porter] was going to cause me serious injury." Police wrote that Mr. Porter did not appear to be injured or complain of any pain when they transported him to the jail.
Craig Johnston, of the South Side, was walking home Sunday night when the scene unfolded in front of him. He said Mr. Porter and a Pittsburgh police officer argued, with Mr. Porter repeatedly saying, "I didn't put my hands on him."
Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten issued the following statement Sunday night: "We are aware of an incident tonight involving Joey Porter. We are still gathering information as it pertains to the situation, and we will have no further comment until we get more details.”
Mr. Porter, who lives in Bradford Woods, is the Steelers outside linebackers coach. He joined the staff in 2014, following a 13-year NFL career that began in Pittsburgh. He was drafted by the Steelers in the third round in 1999. He was a three-time Pro Bowl honoree with the Steelers and the emotional leader of the defense on the Super Bowl XL-winning team, and his fiery play made him a fan favorite. He also played for Miami and Arizona.
In August 2003, he was shot outside of a bar in Denver during the preseason, but returned to play a few weeks later. Mr. Porter was an innocent bystander in that incident and not involved in any altercation.
Mr. Porter is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 19.
Staff writer Dan Gigler contributed. Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.