Pittsburgh, PA – National Football League free agent Brandon Pettigrew was arrested early Monday morning after he allegedly punched a police officer several times.
Pettigrew, a former Detroit Lions tight end, began arguing with a limousine driver outside the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh at approximately 3 a.m. on July 9, after he refused to pay the driver his due fare, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The driver ran inside the hotel lobby to get away from the irate football player and contacted police.
Officers responded to the scene and told the driver that he would have to recoup the $97 fare through the court.
They then made contact with Pettigrew, 33, who was visibly intoxicated and having difficulty standing, police said.
He refused to identify himself and declared he was aware of his constitutional rights, then began “aggressively arguing” with police as he repeatedly moved closer towards them.
As the situation escalated, Pettigrew punched Pittsburgh Police Officer Patrick Fornadel three times in his chest, court documents said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Officers drew their Tasers and commanded Pettigrew to step back, and were able to place the irate man into handcuffs without deploying the devices.
Police said he initially refused to get into the patrol vehicle, but eventually complied, KDKA reported.
According to the criminal complaint, the altercation was captured by officers’ bodycams, and the footage will be made available to the court, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
When he arrived at the Allegheny County Jail, Pettigrew refused to comply with staff members’ commands, so he was placed into a restraint chair.
Pettigrew was charged with theft of services, public drunkenness, and two counts of aggravated assault.
His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 18.
It wasn’t Pettigrew’s first drunken run-in with police.
According to the NFL, while playing for Oklahoma State University in 2008, he was arrested for felony assault and battery of a police officer and misdemeanor public intoxication outside a bar in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
He pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and was given one year of probation.
In 2017, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and public drunkenness in Oklahoma following a fight with two men outside a bar, and refused at least 25 police commands to leave the area, The Oklahoman reported.
Pettigrew was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2009 and went on to play for the team for seven seasons, according to WDIV.
He was a primary starter in his first five seasons, and made 83 receptions in 2011. He continues to hold the record for the most receptions made by a Lions tight end, Lions Wire reported.
Pettigrew tore his ACL halfway through the 2015 season and has not played an NFL game since, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.