Gooden Is Arrested After Brawl With Police

Posted: December 15, 1986

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden and four companions were arrested Saturday night after a street brawl that sent a Tampa police officer to the hospital with a mild concussion, police said yesterday.

Gooden, 22, and two officers were treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released, Tampa Police Lt. T. L. Cotter said.

"He has bruises on his head, his left arm and left hand, and his eye is bloodshot and partly closed," Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said. "He thought his left wrist had been broken, but it isn't. He's pretty sore. In addition to being handcuffed, he also was shackled with ankle cuffs."

Gooden was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest with violence, and battery on a police officer, Cotter said.

"It was all pushing, shoving and kicking - that type of thing," Cotter said. "There were no weapons involved."

Contacted yesterday by telephone, Gooden's father said Dwight was sleeping and declined further comment.

Horwitz said that he spoke with Gooden yesterday and that the righthander told him that he had been handcuffed and ankle-cuffed during the incident.

"It seems to be routine for blacks, driving expensive cars, to be stopped by the police in Tampa," said Gooden's attorney, Charles Ehrlich. He also said that both he and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People planned investigations into the incident.

He said, "What the police have charged them with, and the account in the police report, is in variance with the facts I've been told by Dwight and the others."

Horwitz quoted Gooden as saying, "I don't know what I did. They never told me what they stopped me for. I'm really in the dark about it."

Also arrested were Gary Sheffield, 18, a nephew of Gooden's; Vance Lovelace, 23, a former teammate of Gooden's at Hillsborough High School, and a 17-year-old, all of Tampa. The three were charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence.

All except the 17-year-old were booked into the Hillsborough County Jail and released on their own recognizance. The teenager was handed over to state juvenile officers, Cotter said.

The incident began just before 11 p.m. Saturday, when an officer spotted a Mercedes-Benz and a Corvette weaving toward each other in north Tampa, Cotter said. The officer pulled over the two cars.

As Gooden got out of the Mercedes he was driving, the Corvette, allegedly driven by Sheffield, sped away, but then returned, Cotter said. A second police car pulled up to aid the officer, then a third private vehicle pulled alongside, Cotter said.

When the other cars pulled up, Gooden allegedly began scuffling with the first officer, and the occupants of the other vehicles jumped in, Cotter said.

The four men eventually were subdued, and Gooden and two officers were taken to a hospital, treated for minor injuries and released. One policeman suffered a mild concussion, said Cotter, who would not identify the officers involved.

The spokesman said that, to his knowledge, the arrested men had not been tested for alcohol and drugs.

"I can't speculate what was originally on the officer's mind who stopped them," Cotter said. "But with the violent reaction that the officers received, they couldn't really give them a sobriety test."

He said the charges would be reviewed by the state attorney's office.

Cotter said he did not know who was driving the third car or if there were any other passengers in any of the three cars.

Horwitz said the men were returning home from Saturday night's Florida at South Florida basketball game.

"But we don't have all the details," he added. "We're in the process of trying to find out all the facts."

Gooden won the National League's Cy Young Award in 1985 after posting a 24-4 record with a 1.53 earned run average and 268 strikeouts, and this year he helped the Mets toward the world championship with a 17-6 record and a

2.84 ERA. But he fared poorly in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, being knocked out in Games 2 and 5.

Gooden missed the ticker-tape parade for the Mets after their World Series victory in October, then denied rumors he might be involved in drugs. He asked for a drug-testing clause in his contract for 1987.

Sheffield and Lovelace also are professional baseball players.

Lovelace, a lefthanded pitcher, played for Chicago Cubs' and Los Angeles Dodgers' minor-league teams starting in 1981 before spending the 1986 season with the California Angels' Midland club of the Texas League. Sheffield was a No. 1 draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers this year and spent the season with the club's rookie team at Helena, Mont.

comments powered by Disqus