Pacers Players Free After Being Booked
Thursday, February 22, 2007; 4:20 PM
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers players Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels were free Thursday after being booked on charges in a Feb. 6 bar fight, with their attorneys insisting their clients did nothing wrong that night.
Both men surrendered to police shortly after they played in the Pacers' 136-129 double-overtime victory against Milwaukee on Wednesday night. A judge scheduled a pretrial hearing for March 13, then released both men on their own recognizance.
A Marion County grand jury indicted Tinsley on Wednesday on a felony charge of intimidation and misdemeanor counts of battery, disorderly conduct and intimidation in the fight at 8 Seconds Saloon. Daniels was charged with battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
Lawyers for both players said they would enter not guilty pleas.
"My client is telling me that he's innocent, that he did nothing that night, and plans on maintaining his innocence throughout these proceedings, and hopefully it will work out like it's supposed to," Daniels' attorney, Ralph Staples, said during a halftime news conference Wednesday night.
"When there's an allegation that is made, that's what it is _ an allegation," said Jim Voyles, Tinsley's attorney. "There's a presumption of innocence in this country that seems to be lost sometimes, and I want you all to remember and everyone who watches these programs to remember."
That theme also was reiterated in a Pacers' statement.
"In our system of justice, grand juries do not find anyone guilty of anything," the statement said. "We need to give the process time to treat everyone fairly and reach a just result."
Daniels scored 22 points and Tinsley had 11 in the win over the Bucks.
No one was immediately arrested or charged after the fight, which happened hours after a home loss to Golden State. Instead, a grand jury was convened to examine the evidence and decide whether charges should be filed.
According to the police report, the bar manager said Tinsley threatened to kill him during the fight. The confrontation with the players followed another fight involving a person who employees thought was trying to steal coats from the coat check area, police said.
Pacers players yelled obscenities at staff members, the report said.
Tinsley punched bar manager Mark Nicholson, 42, on the left side of his head, knocking him to his knees, the report said. Nicholson said Daniels and another man began striking him in the face. Other witnesses then separated those involved in the fight.
Nicholson suffered a laceration to the forehead and may have lost a tooth in the scuffle, police said.
Nicholson and other witnesses told police that Pacer Keith McLeod was involved in pushing and shoving during the fight, but Nicholson could not say if McLeod had struck him. McLeod was not charged.
McLeod also has denied involvement in the fight.