Deion Sanders spent the first few hours of his birthday in police custody today, charged with two misdemeanors for an altercation with a guard at Riverfront Stadium.
The Cincinnati Reds outfielder was arrested after allegedly ignoring a police officer's warning and driving his motorcycle through a restricted gate following a game Monday night.The officer allegedly was dragged several feet and suffered minor injuries. Sanders was arrested and charged with failing to provide a driver's license and resisting arrest. The first-degree misdemeanors carry maximum sentences of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Police will talk to more witnesses and prosecutors today before deciding whether to add an assault charge, Lt. Fred Ramsey said.
Sanders was questioned at the downtown police headquarters, then taken to the Hamilton County Justice Center to post bond. He was released around 2:30 a.m. EDT.
As he left the Justice Center, group of friends and relatives, including teammate Jose Rijo, sang "Happy Birthday" to Sanders, who turned 27 today.
Sanders said he was stunned that his encounter with the officer escalated into charges.
"How many guys have gone to jail right from the stadium?" Sanders said.
The altercation occurred after a 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Sanders was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and a groundout that ended the game.
Ramsey said Cincinnati police officer Herb Kohus was guarding a restricted pedestrian entrance and stopped Sanders as he tried to drive his motorcycle through it. The gate, not far from the Reds' clubhouse, is for vendors only and leads to a sidewalk on Pete Rose Way.
"Basically, he (Sanders) said, `You can't tell me what to do, you can't talk to me that way,' " Ramsey said.
Sanders disputed that.
"That definitely was not said. I'd never say, `I'm Deion Sanders and you can't do this to me,' " Sanders said after his release at the Justice Center. "I didn't initiate this."
The officer demanded to see Sanders' driver's license, and Sanders said he didn't have it with him and didn't have to produce it, Ramsey said.
"The argument kept going back and forth. When he refused to give his license, the officer attempted to turn the motorcycle off so he couldn't pull away," Ramsey said. "When he did this, Deion hit the gas and officer Kohus' hand got caught up in the brake lines or something and he got pulled forward."