New Orleans Saints strong safety Chris Hewitt spent a night in jail this week for assaulting an officer after a white deputy questioned Hewitt in response to a call about a "suspicious looking black male" walking in the area.
Hewitt, who is black, spent Wednesday night in Jefferson Parish lockup. He was booked for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
Hewitt, 24, was released Thursday morning after posting $1,500 bond. No court date has been set, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.
Hewitt was arrested in Metairie at approximately 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Sheriff Harry Lee said deputy Brian McClendon stopped Hewitt as he walked home from a convenience store a few blocks from his apartment.
A second deputy assisted McClendon in the arrest, Lee said.
"We had a report of a burglary suspect -- a single, black male -- being in the area," Lee said. "When our deputy stopped Hewitt, words were exchanged. It escalated, and the Saints player had to be arrested. Now that's our side of the story."
"It may be that both sides telling the truth about what happened. There may be some misunderstanding. I'm going to make sure that the officer did not make a random stop. But we have checked, and there was a call."
Hewitt, a second-year free agent who played at the University of Cincinnati, could not be reached for comment. He participated in meetings and practice Thursday.
| Chris Hewitt apparently didn't take kindly to questions from police. (AP) |
"I believe the kid," said Saints coach Mike Ditka. "Why would he be stopped for walking in his neighborhood? Because he is black. That stinks. That's the trouble with the world today."
"What was he arrested for? They initially accused him of stealing. That's what they accused him of. They made him out to be a criminal. And that's wrong."
Lee said, "I can easily understand the Saints player being offended for being stopped if he had done nothing wrong. I would have been offended, too, if that had happened to me. But the deputy is being paid to do what he had to do."
"It may very well be the way the Saints player said it happened, and it may very well be the way our deputy said it happened. It's a case of he said, he said. But it ain't no big deal."
Lee said his office would not conduct an internal investigation into the matter.
"Now if the Saints player files to internal affairs, they will look into it," Lee said. "If not, we'll let it go to court and see what happens. Hopefully, we can resolve the matter before it goes to court."
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