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Report: Fan In White Hat Has Criminal History

Man Accused Of Throwing First Cup Speaks To Police

POSTED: Monday, November 22, 2004

Police continue to identify all of the fans involved in Friday night's brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills, while the man accused of throwing the cup that sparked the incident speaks to Local 4.

John Green
Police have identified this fan -- believed to have thrown the first beer at the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest -- as John Green, of West Bloomfield.

John Green, of West Bloomfield, was caught on tape throwing his cup of beer onto Indiana Pacers player Ron Artest, Local 4 reported. The act sent Artest into a rage in the stands, where players and fans then fought during the game between the Pistons and the Pacers.

Local 4 learned that Green has a criminal history, which includes the following offenses:

  • 2003 -- Operating under the influence of liquor/operating while visibly impaired (second offense)
  • 1989 -- Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder
  • 1989 -- Escape from prison
  • 1986 -- Carrying concealed weapons
  • 1986 -- Uttering and publishing, which is using a false, forged, altered or counterfeit record, deed or instrument to injure or defraud.

Green initially said he had no comment to Local 4, but eventually talked with the station Monday morning outside his West Bloomfield home, saying, "I'm not going anywhere. The police know where I live. I've talked to them already."

(Hear What John Green Has To Say)

Green was identified over the weekend as "the fan in the white hat" who apparently threw the plastic cup of beer while Artest was sprawled on his back on a scorer's table, away from a scuffle on the court. Artest then jumped up and charged into the stands, throwing punches as he climbed over seats.

Green stepped aside and another person took the initial blow. The tape of Friday's fight then shows Green attacking Artest from behind.

Green was expected to speak with Auburn Hills police Sunday night, but did not appear, the station reported.

"I think that's what escalated the whole situation. We're certainly wanting to interview that individual. That individual knows who he is. I suggest he should turn himself in to be questioned by the Auburn Hills Police Department," said Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca. "If he doesn't, I can assure you we will locate him."

Authorities were able to locate Green and have questioned him regarding the incident, Local 4 learned Monday. Green could face charges and lose his season tickets at The Palace, the station reported.

Gorcyca said the investigation will begin with Green, but the prosecutor's office is expected to announce charges against 25 to 50 other fans who participated in the fight at The Palace.

Gorcyca said anyone who threw a cup or a punch -- including players and fans -- could face criminal charges.

"The throwing of an object and striking someone constitutes an assault," said Gorcyca.

One fan in particular that police want to identify is the person who threw a chair into the crowd. Police are reviewing video from a fan who snuck a camera into the game, Local 4 reported.

Police have interviewed nine witnesses who claimed that they were assaulted by one of the Pacers, Local 4 reported Monday. Investigators continue to review video to identify others involved in the brawl.

Witness Joe Hampton said he is a season-ticket holder and was about 10 rows away from the incident Friday.

"I didn't have the instinct necessarily to take off. It's just so shocking. You just kind of freeze," said Hampton. "This happened fast and it was just kind of surreal."

Authorities are trying to confirm witness information with video of the incident.

NBA security is also reviewing the tapes and plan to speak with officials at The Palace about security measures.

NBA Players' Union To Appeal Suspensions

The suspensions given to players following Friday night's incident at the Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons game are expected to be appealed by the NBA players' union Monday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Pacers forward Ron Artest for the remainder of the season.

The NBA levied the stiffest penalties on three members of the Indiana Pacers. Overall, nine players from the teams were banned for 143 games. Artest is the first player to be suspended for nearly an entire season for a fight during a game.

The suspended Pistons sat out Sunday night's game between Detroit and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Player
Games
Suspended
Salary
Salary Lost
Ron Artest (Indiana)
73
$6.2 million
$4.95 million
Stephen Jackson (Indiana)
30
$5.1 million
$1.7 million
Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana)
25
$14.8 million
$4.1 million
Ben Wallace (Detroit)
6
$6 million
$400,000
Anthony Johnson (Indiana)
5
$2.2 million
$122,222
Reggie Miller (Indiana)
1
$5.5 million
$61,111
Chauncey Billups (Detroit)
1
$5.5 million
$60,611
Derrick Coleman (Detroit)
1
$4.5 million
$50,000
Elden Campbell (Detroit)
1
$4.4 million
$48,888

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