N E W O R L E A N S, July 4, 2000 -- Anthony Mason, starting forward for theCharlotte Hornets, was arrested for allegedly incitinga riot and assaulting police in the city’s French Quarter.
Mason, 33, of Charlotte, N.C., was arrested Monday about 9:15 p.m. after he was sprayed with pepper by officers, said police spokesmanJoseph Narcisse.
A pair of officers noticed two groups of men arguing over womenon Bourbon Street, Narcisse said. When the officers tried toseparate the groups, Mason, who is 6-foot-8 and weighs 270 pounds,hit one of the officers and began rallying the crowd, Narcissesaid.
The officer who had been hit sprayed Mason with pepper, but withlittle effect, Narcisse said.
Other officers arrived and some in the crowd threw bottles andshouted racial slurs at police, Narcisse said.
Mason fled and the crowd followed him, while police went to the8th District station, where they regrouped, arrested Mason and tookhim to the city’s charity hospital to have his face treated,Narcisse said.
No police were seriously hurt in the melee, Narcisse said.
Mason will be booked with inciting a riot, battery on policeofficers and resisting arrest, Narcisse said.
It was not Mason’s first brush with the law. He was arrested ontwo counts of misdemeanor assault last February after a scuffleoutside a barroom in the Harlem section of New York City. Thecharges were later dropped when prosecutors said they did not haveenough evidence to convict him.
Mason, who has played with New Jersey, Denver and the New YorkKnicks, led the Hornets in 1997-98 in field goal shootingpercentage and rebounds for the second consecutive season. He hasappeared in 83 NBA playoff games, averaging 9.9 points per game,6.8 rebounds per game and 2.3 assists per game.
In NBA promotions, Mason has said he “sees a career in criminaljustice after his playing career ends.”