TV Reporter Claims Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas Choked Him
DETROIT (AP) _ A television reporter filed an assault and battery complaint Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas, claiming the NBA All-Star choked him and threw him against a car.
A spokesman for the National Basketball Association champion team denied the accusations.
Virg Jacques, of Detroit station WJBK-TV, said the alleged assault occurred Tuesday afternoon outside a gymnasium at Oakland University, where the Pistons had just finished an informal practice.
Jacques said he followed Thomas out of the gym and was walking to his own car when Thomas twice called him over.
Thomas ″started shouting and put his hands around my neck and shoved me against a car. He was shouting, ‘Get out of my face’ and ’Get the hell out of my way,‴ Jacques said.
The reporter said Thomas also threatened to run him over.
Jacques, who said he was cut on the neck, filed a complaint with the university’s Department of Public Safety, whose officers have arrest powers as Oakland County sheriff’s deputies.
″A complaint has been filed, and we are investigating,″ said Sgt. Al Steele. He declined to elaborate.
A cameraman who accompanied Jacques was putting equipment away and did not videotape the incident, Jacques said.
Thomas has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. But Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek on Tuesday night gave a different version of the incident.
Dobek said Thomas and center James Edwards, who witnessed the confrontation, told him the reporter tried to prevent Thomas from getting into his car.
After Thomas got in the car, Jacques stood in front of it, Dobek said.
″There were no punches thrown,″ Dobek said. ″We don’t think it’s a big problem.″