Police were called to the scene following reports of an “an unruly customer who was in the process of assaulting the doorman” at the Flats, a bar and grill. Witnesses said that Porter had been asked to leave the establishment several times and did not, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Police were called, and the dispute moved out onto the sidewalk.
“At approximately 9:30 p.m., security guards at a bar on the South Side summoned a Pittsburgh police officer due to an unruly customer,” police spokeswoman Sonya Toler told the Beaver County Times. “The customer was Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Joey Porter.”
Porter, 39, was taken to the Allegheny County Jail and charged with aggravated assault over alleged contact with a police officer, simple assault of a doorman, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and public drunkenness. Physical contact with an officer brings an automatic charge of aggravated assault in Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press. He was released early Monday morning after posting $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Pittsburgh’s City Court on Jan. 19 for a preliminary hearing.
According to a criminal complaint cited by the Associated Press, officer Paul Abel was working security at a nearby bar when he was told by an off-duty officer that the doorman at the Flats was being threatened by a Steeler. Abel said the doorman was refusing to let an apparently intoxicated Porter into the bar. Abel, who filed the complaint, said Porter ignored him and grabbed the doorman by the arms and lifted him off the ground. The doorman, Abel said, had not been aggressive with Porter.
Porter pulled away from the doorman and the complaint states that he then grabbed Abel’s wrists “so tightly that I could not pull them away from him, no matter how hard I tried.” Porter eventually was handcuffed but the complaint states that he yelled, “You’re lying. I never touched you,” as he was being arrested.
“We are aware of an incident tonight involving Joey Porter,” the Steelers said in a statement. “We are still gathering information as it pertains to the situation, and we will have no further comment until we get more details.”
Porter is in his third season as a linebackers coach for the Steelers, having played eight seasons for the team at that position during a 13-year NFL career, one that included four Pro Bowl selections.
Porter was in the middle of on-field turmoil during last year’s opening-round playoff game, an 18-16 Steelers win over the Bengals. After Cincinnati players were involved in a play that resulted in a concussion for Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, Porter stepped onto the field to confront them and got into a physical altercation with several Bengals. Porter was fined for his role in the incident, along with other members of both teams.
The Steelers’ next playoff game is Sunday against the Chiefs in Kansas City.
This post has been updated.