PITTSBURGH » Pittsburgh police didn’t dispute Twitter claims by the wife of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mat Latos that she was punched and had her hair pulled by a fan during the National League wild-card game, but said they consider the matter "closed" and won’t file criminal charges.
Sgt. John Fisher, who headed the 18-officer contingent that augmented stadium security on Tuesday, told reporters the incident was "much ado about nothing. What made it big was it involved a pitcher’s wife and it all went on Twitter."
At a news conference today, Fisher told reporters that stadium security called police to break up an argument involving 20 to 30 Cincinnati and Pirates fans at the Budweiser Bowtie Bar inside PNC Park during the Pirates’ 6-2 win Tuesday night.
Police didn’t see Dallas Latos being attacked but interviewed her afterward when a stadium security worker told officers of her claims, which she later tweeted. Latos didn’t have visible injuries and refused medical treatment when she was interviewed by police, Fisher said.
Latos tweeted she was "punched in the head at least three times" by a Pirates fan and her hair was pulled, writing "I’m ‘fine’ but my head hurts. Never swung back bc I was trying to protect myself."
Latos was not among seven fans ejected by police, though two females with Latos were tossed as were five Pirates fans, including the woman who allegedly attacked Latos. Police know the woman’s name and gave it to Latos so she can press charges if she wants, but aren’t releasing the name because the woman wasn’t arrested, Fisher said.
Fisher said Latos can file a private criminal complaint, which must be vetted by a county prosecutor. Under Pennsylvania law, police can’t arrest people for fights that warrant only misdemeanor charges like simple assault or summary citations, which are similar to traffic tickets, for offenses like harassment, Fisher said.
In such instances, police either file charges and send the accused a court summons or, as was done in this case, let the parties file private complaints.
The argument involved "overzealous fans and banter back and forth between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati fans," Fisher said, adding all participants "appeared to be drinking and intoxicated to one level or another."
Latos had been sitting in an area reserved for visiting players’ wives and families, which was guarded by stadium security, before some of her group went to the bar about 10 seating sections away where they weren’t shielded from the general public, Fisher said.
Police wouldn’t say whether the other ejected Cincinnati fans were also wives or otherwise related to players.
On Twitter, Latos claimed that a Pirates fan insulted another Reds’ player’s grandmother and called Latos a name when she asked him to stop. Latos contends the man’s female companion then punched her and pulled her hair.
Reds spokesman Rob Butcher said the team has no comment except to say it contacted the Pirates about the incident. Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said fan safety is a "top priority" for the team. He said the disruption was turned over to police after stadium security workers’ "attempts to calm the situation and eject members of the unruly parties were met with escalating profanity and threats."
Latos tweeted today suggesting she was suffering a backlash for complaining.
"The fact that our society condemns victims is disgusting," she wrote. "I have nothing to gain from telling my story besides a bunch of hate so save it."
AP Correspondent Daniel Sewell contributed to this story from Cincinnati.