Pittsburgh, PA – There are some serious questions surrounding the curious case of Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter. As we reported, Porter was arrested for assaulting a police officer and a bar employee, on January 8th, the evening of the Steelers playoff victory over the Miami Dolphins
According to KDKA, Porter was allegedly involved in an altercation outside of a Pittsburgh bar when he was refused entry by an employee. Pittsburgh Police Officer Paul Abel, who was working an off-duty detail at a nearby business, responded to the incident. During the course of the altercation, it is alleged that Porter became physically aggressive, assaulting both the bar employee and Officer Abel. As a result, he was charged with aggravated assault (involving Officer Abel), simple assault (involving the bar employee), resisting arrest, defiant trespass, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. According to reports, surveillance video from several locations captured the incident.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Steeler’s head coach Mike Tomlin told the media that Porter’s conduct was “disappointing”.
“To be involved in the National Football League is an honor and a privilege, it’s not a right. We should respect it as such”, Tomlin said. The Steelers announced that Porter had been placed on indefinite “leave”.
Not to miss an opportunity for some of the limelight in their constant endeavor to justify their costly existence at the tax payers expense, the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, and its leader- the notorious cop hater, Elizabeth Pittinger, entered the fray. Pittinger announced that the board would be performing their own investigation into the matter, and referenced Officer Abel’s past discrepancies as the reason. Both Officer Abel and Joey Porter had issues in the past of which neither are certainly proud. But the past of neither were taken into account on the evening of January 8th when the altercation took place and the arrest was made, all in view of and recorded on surveillance cameras.
But the case of Joey Porter became curious on Thursday when Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala issued a statement announcing a stunning and unprecedented decision regard the charges against Porter.
The DA’s office stated that after reviewing the video footage, it was their determination that they withdraw the most serious of the charges including aggravated assault on a police officer, simple assault on the victim who worked at the bar, resisting arrest and defiant trespass, leaving two summary offenses.
The decision was especially curious considering that it had occurred prior to the preliminary hearing scheduled for January 19th. No one in the area’s law enforcement community, in particular officers within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, recalled the DA’s office ever deciding to withdraw charges prior to a preliminary hearing. Not only is it not in the best interest of the prosecution, but it opens the officer up to allegations of misconduct, in particular accusations of false arrest which presumably have the review board licking their chops.
Something fishy is obviously going on, because the assault was captured on camera. In an interview, with NewsRadio 1020 KDKA’s Marty Griffin, Officer Abel made it clear that the assault was on video:
Marty:You see on the video Joey Porter picking up a bouncer and tossing him off the front steps?
Marty: You do very clearly?
Officer Abel said that he decided to speak out because justice is being denied to the victim.
The suspected fix was complete when the Steelers announced on Friday that Porter had been reinstated and would join the team on their trip to Kansas City and Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Team president Art Rooney II said in a statement that after reviewing the communication from the DA’s office, “We have decided that Joey Porter will return to our coaching staff for the game in Kansas City this weekend.”
Pittsburgh Police FOP President Robert Swartzwelder has his suspicions. He told KDKA 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?” The answer to that appears obvious.
As for Officer Abel, he has had the support of his fellow officer and the department in which he works. Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert announced his support after reviewing surveillance video. Chief Schubert told the media, “I can tell you that I fully support the officer and the action he took during this incident”.