Person Charged After Fracas

Posted: February 13, 2001

The best thing that can be said for Robert Person is that it could have been worse.

After the Phillies righthander was arrested and hogtied following a brawl in the nightclub district of Ybor City, a section of Tampa, early Sunday morning, he reportedly attempted to kick the windows out of the police car taking him in for booking.

Person was released yesterday after paying $1,000 bail. He spent 4 hours in the Hillsborough County Jail.

He faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing an officer without violence and giving a false name. Police spokesman Joe Durkin said Person avoided being charged with a felony because no officers were hit during the struggle.

"The officer showed a tremendous amount of restraint in dealing with him," Durkin said.

Person will be at the first full workout for pitchers and catchers on Friday at the Carpenter Complex.

"I talked to Robert after finding out that something had happened, as soon as we were made aware. He gave me his side of the story," said general manager Ed Wade. "Hopefully, this will be resolved in short order."

Wade declined to comment on whether Person's version differed from police reports.

Agent Steve Canter also was circumspect.

"The situation is being evaluated and it's being taken care of," he said.

The ugly turn of events took place some 36 hours after Canter settled Person's arbitration case an hour before a scheduled hearing in Phoenix. The pitcher, who could end up as the Phillies' No. 1 starter this season, will receive a base salary of $2.975 million plus performance and award bonuses.

According to police, the problems began when Person refused an order to walk away after officers broke up a fight he was having with another man.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm going wherever. . .I want to go," police quoted him as saying. The police didn't recognize Person, and he refused to identify himself.

After he was handcuffed, the police report continued, Person continued to struggle, police said. He attempted to pull his cuffed hands under his feet and in front of him. When he was warned to stop, he began cursing and kicking at the car's windows, police said.

At that point, he was removed from the cruiser and his hands and feet were bound with nylon rope before he was put back into the vehicle and taken to the station, according to the police report, which noted it was done for his safety.

At the jail, Person continued to struggle as deputies searched him. Only after they located an identification card did they know who he was.

Canter was asked if he wanted to offer any mitigating circumstances or add any information that would portray his client in a better light.

"Not at this time," he said.

Person has been in Clearwater, which is near Ybor City, participating in early workouts.

Send e-mail to hagenp@phillynews.com

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