Cops: Ex-Duquesne basketball players involved in South Side fracas | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Cops: Ex-Duquesne basketball players involved in South Side fracas

Tom Davidson
1561196_web1_web-policelights22

The two men who are charged for their part in a fracas on Pittsburgh’s South Side early Sunday morning are former Duquesne University basketball players.

Pittsburgh police said that two officers were hurt while responding to the incident, which caused a large, unruly crowd to gather.

Tarin A. Smith, 23, of Ocean, N.J., and Eric M. James, 23, of Westerville, Ohio, played hoops together for the Dukes during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 basketball seasons.

James played four years for Duquesne and averaged 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game during his career for the Dukes.

Smith, who transferred from Nebraska and sat out the 2015-16 season, was more successful, and was the Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year in 2017-18 season. After graduating from Duquesne, he played the 2018-19 season as a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, where he earned praise.

Early Sunday morning on East Carson Street, Smith was behind the wheel of a 2015 Mercedes-Benz that was illegally parked on the street at an angle that created a hazard, Pittsburgh police Officer David Blatt wrote in a criminal complaint.

When Blatt approached, Smith ignored him, then started to argue and make “disparaging” comments at Blatt, he wrote in the complaint.

“Smith stated to me, ‘Go ahead and write me a ticket. I’ll pay for it. It’s worth more than you are,’ ” Blatt wrote in the complaint.

Smith then drove over Blatt’s left foot, pinning it to the street, and he “just stared at me as other officers were trying to get him out of the vehicle,” Blatt wrote.

A female passenger in the car got out and became a part of the escalating altercation. While police were dealing with her, James approached while they were handcuffing Smith, police said.

James, ignoring orders from police and pleas from friends, approached to ask police what was going on, according to a criminal complaint.

“It was clear to me that James was trying to interfere with the incident and/or distract me,” Blatt wrote. “I then attempted to handcuff James, but he began resisting, stiffening up and raising his hands in the air.”

After a struggle involving multiple officers, James was also taken into custody.

“It should be noted that Eric James is 6’5” with a large and athletic build,” Blatt wrote.

Smith was listed at 6’3” and 185 pounds when he played for UConn, according to its website.

Smith was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, obstruction, reckless driving and reckless endangering. He posted $10,000 bail through a bondsman.

Smith’s father told the Tribune-Review his son wasn’t at his New Jersey home on Monday and they were still learning the details about what happened.

James was charged with resisting arrest, failure to disperse and obstruction. He was released on his own recognizance.

James could not be reached for comment.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.