Pittsburgh Steelers

Police watchdog group drops its investigation into officer's actions in Joey Porter arrest

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh's Citizen Police Review Board is dropping its investigation into the actions of the officer who arrested Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter on the South Side after the team’s win against the Miami Dolphins.

Beth Pittinger, executive director of the police watchdog group, said surveillance video of Porter’s arrest is consistent with the arresting officer’s report. The board does not have power to file charges, but it can make recommendations.


Police were called Jan. 8 by security guards at The Flats on East Carson Street about an unruly customer who they said was assaulting the doorman. Police identified the man as Porter, who is the Steelers' linebackers coach and a former player for the team.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by Channel 11 News, Porter was trying to get into the bar, but the doorman told Porter, “Last time you were here, you threatened to kill me. You need to leave.”

The complaint said that Porter lunged at the doorman, grabbed him by the arms and lifted him off the ground. Police and people with Porter intervened, and Porter dropped the man, according to the complaint. Police said Porter then grabbed Officer Paul Abel’s wrists and would not let go. When Porter released his grip, Abel called for backup and arrested Porter.

Porter, 39, was taken to the Allegheny County Jail and initially charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest and public drunkenness. He was arraigned and released from jail after he posted $25,000 bail early Jan. 9.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office later dropped the most serious counts, charging Porter with summary disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness.