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Old 08-26-2006, 01:19 PM   #5
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Default Pacman Jones - the Perfect Gentleman

"I was an innocent bystander,''

Pacman was 'gentleman,' bar owner says

By JIM WYATT
Staff Writer

Pacman Jones said he "tried to do everything the right way'' while at a Murfreesboro nightclub. The club's owner said the Titans cornerback was a "perfect gentleman."

But Jones' arrest early Friday morning outside Sweetwater Saloon once again has him in the news for the wrong reasons. And it will have him on the sidelines tonight when the Titans play the Atlanta Falcons in a preseason game at LP Field.

"I am disappointed that Pac's activities have become an issue again because I believe he has made significant gains over the last year. I want to let the legal system work in this case before I make any conclusions,'' Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement.

"I am going to sit him out of this game on principle and not because I believe he is guilty in this case based on what I believe the facts are at this time. I would expect him to be on the sidelines ? encouraging his teammates and getting encouragement from his teammates."

Murfreesboro police on Friday described a scene in which a drunken Jones peppered authorities with obscenities and refused an opportunity to walk away from trouble.

Jones and other witnesses, however, said the events leading up to his arrest are better understood when one considers that his wallet was stolen, efforts by the club's security staff to retrieve it were lax, and police seemed to target Jones upon their arrival.

Whatever the case, Jones was arrested at 1:34 a.m. Friday on charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. He posted a $750 bond and is to appear in General Sessions Court on Oct. 12.

"I was an innocent bystander,'' said Jones, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. "I wasn't drunk. I was there with my hands behind my back. I tried to do everything right. I went there and got my wallet stolen, credit card and everything. I tried to get it back and went up to the police, and they end up arresting me.''

According to the police account of the incident, officers on normal patrol noticed a disturbance on the front porch of Sweetwater Saloon, 527 W. Main St. When officers arrived, they made contact with Jones and a female yelling at one another. Officer Mike Baldwin observed Jones with bloodshot eyes, a strong odor of alcohol and slurred speech. Jones was repeatedly ordered to leave the club.

Police said that when Jones finally departed, he leaned out the passenger window of a vehicle "yelling obscenities'' at authorities. At that point, police said, Jones was asked to step out of the vehicle and he was arrested.

"This was not a big issue. He just turned it into one,'' Murfreesboro Police Lt. Alvin Baird said. "It is not unusual to come across a person who'd had too much to drink at a bar, and you just say, 'If someone can take you home, then go home.'

"He had every opportunity to leave. Nobody would have even known about this incident if he would've just gone home. But when people are drinking, they don't always make the best decisions. ? He put us in a place where we had to do something.''

Jones was at Sweetwater Saloon with friends, watching a concert from the VIP section. Jones has frequented the establishment, according to club owner Jarrett Qualls.

Qualls questioned the motives of police once they arrived and observed Jones and LaToya Garth arguing.

He said that Jones handled himself like a "perfect gentleman" and didn't appear to be intoxicated but that Garth, an acquaintance of Jones, was "out of control."

"The police, when they came inside the building, they pretty much walked inside, grabbed him and took him outside. Bottom line, that is what happened,'' Qualls said. "Pacman, we had no problem with him. My security went to calm the girl down, and the police went straight for Pacman. I thought they were very unprofessional. ? It is all for publicity, if you ask me.''

Said attorney Roger May, who is representing Jones: "My preliminary investigation indicates there is a significant other side to this story.''

As Jones was transported to the Rutherford County jail, he continued yelling profanities and began crying, according to the police report.

May, Qualls and Garth said Jones was upset because he felt his wallet had been stolen, along with the purse of another acquaintance, Shakkiah Curtis.

According to police, Curtis said her purse was missing when she returned from the restroom along with some unidentified females who were hanging out with her and Jones. Jones' wallet and cell phone were apparently inside the purse, which had not been recovered as of Friday afternoon.

Curtis questioned Garth as to the whereabouts of the purse, an argument ensued, and Jones became involved, according to the police report.

Garth told police that Jones spit in her face. Contacted later Friday, she downplayed the incident.

"We were just in there talking. After we spit on each other it wouldn't have been nothing else,'' Garth said. "It's nothing between us, really. We just got to arguing. He spit on me, I spit on him, and tomorrow we'll laugh about the (expletive). I was mostly upset because I was in handcuffs. With me being pregnant, I didn't like being pushed and I was in handcuffs.''

Garth said she didn't take the purse and doesn't know who did.

Police said the club's security officials briefly looked into claims about the missing purse and wallet but made no discoveries before ordering the parties to leave.

Officer Baldwin attempted to fill out a report about the missing wallet, police said, but Jones did not cooperate and failed to sign the report.

"I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion,'' Garth said. "I'm not pressing charges on that boy (Jones). I am pressing charges on the security who puts handcuffs on me, but not (Jones). Everything's cool with (Jones). It ain't nothing. I ain't worried about it.''

The incident was the third involving Jones and police since the end of the 2005 season.

In April, Jones was on the scene when gunshots were fired during a 1:50 a.m. altercation at a gas station, but he was not arrested. A week earlier, Metro police named him as an acquaintance of one of nine men arrested in a major drug trafficking ring.

At the end of last season, Fisher issued a no-tolerance policy for the team after off-field incidents involving several players, although the coach did not say how he would enforce the policy.

"I think you'll have to wait and see," Fisher said at the time. "If there's a problem, there will be definite disciplinary action taken by the organization."

In the statement released by the Titans on Friday, Fisher said: "Last January I let the team know they would be held to a higher standard, and this does not meet that standard.''
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