Originally created 10/27/97

Barkley arrested after bar scuffle



ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Charles Barkley was arrested early Sunday for hurling a bar patron through a plate-glass window after the man tossed a glass of ice at him.

Police said the Houston Rockets star told the victim as he lay bleeding on the ground: "You got what you deserve. You don't respect me. I hope you're hurt."

The 20-year-old patron, Jorge Lugo, was treated at a hospital for a minor laceration to his upper right arm.

Barkley was charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest without violence, police said. He was jailed for five hours before being released on $6,000 bond.

Barkley, who has been involved in several incidents in bars and nightclubs over the past five years, said he had never met Lugo and that Lugo threw the glass of ice at him unprovoked.

"I'm going to defend myself ... at all times. I've made that clear in my years in the NBA," Barkley said Sunday afternoon. "If you bother me, I'm going to whup you."

The fight at Phineas Phogg's bar at Church Street Station, a popular entertainment district in downtown Orlando, began as the bar was clearing out.

Barkley told police that Lugo threw a glass of ice at him and three women who were sitting at his table. Barkley chased Lugo to the front of the bar, where an off-duty officer tried to intervene. But Barkley picked up Lugo and threw him through the window, according to a police report.

"He lifted that kid up and flung him like he was a toy and threw him into the window. He broke the whole glass," said Jerry Colon, a witness.

Barkley, however, said it was more like a push and Lugo fell back into the window.

According to the police report, an officer on the scene separated Barkley from Lugo but Barkley went back and said, "For all I care, you can lay there and die."

Friends of Barkley then tried to get him to leave, but he was stopped and arrested a half-block away.

Barkley, who was in town for an exhibition game against the Orlando Magic, was not at practice Sunday morning but was expected to play Sunday night.

Rockets spokesman Tim Frank said team officials would discuss the fight with Barkley before deciding what to do.

"We believe in him," Frank said. "We don't believe he would overreact to a situation without just cause."

Barkley said he was unconcerned about the charges.

"I'm not going to worry about the charges. Whatever happens, I'll deal with it," he said.

Barkley has faced similar accusations before.

In August, a jury rejected a $550,000 lawsuit from a man who claimed Barkley beat him up at a Cleveland nightclub.

Barkley and NBA player Jayson Williams were accused of being in a bar fight in Chicago in 1992. Charges were dropped. Barkley was acquitted the same year on misdemeanor battery charges brought by a man who said Barkley broke his nose outside a Milwaukee bar.

Barkley, an 11-time All-Star entering his 14th year, went to Houston in a trade with the Phoenix Suns in 1996.