Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher on Monday blamed security workers at Cleveland Browns Stadium for a confrontation that led to the arrests of several of his relatives during his first NFL game in his hometown.
A report from the Cleveland Police Department, however, blamed what it called a "riot" on the fans who were arrested, saying a security official was punched and knocked to the ground while trying to escort an unruly spectator from the stadium.
Fletcher said four of his family members were arrested and still in custody as of Monday afternoon. Cleveland police spokeswoman Detective Jennifer Ciaccia said five people were arrested for assault on a police officer, aggravated rioting and resisting arrest and that they had not been officially charged by Monday evening.
Fletcher said he had about 50 friends and family at the stadium for Washington's 38-21 win at Cleveland on Sunday. He said they were harassed because they were wearing Redskins colors, but he said the fracas apparently began when a security official was asking how the large group had acquired such good seats.
"Really what led to the ruckus was something that happened with stadium security -- where they're supposed to diffuse the situation, they were more instigators or they didn't diffuse the situation," Fletcher said. "It wasn't even with the fans at that point in time. I think one of the stadium workers, I don't know, he went overboard with what his job responsibilities were."
The police report said the incident began when a security officer saw a fan who claimed to be related to Fletcher taunting Browns fans. When the officer later tried to eject the fan, others became involved and that one fan punched the officer "knocking him to the ground."
The report says later "the riot moved into the concourse area" and that several people were treated for injuries. Fletcher also said he had an aunt who was hospitalized for "neck injuries" and released.
John Lloyd, operations manager with the stadium's Tenable security contractor, had no comment. He referred questions to the company's legal department, where a message was left seeking comment.
By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio, and Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.
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