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Charles Oakley arraigned on charges from Madison Square Garden incident

Former Knicks forward Charles Oakley spoke with reporters outside a Manhattan criminal courthouse on April 11, 2017 about an incident at a Knicks game in February causing the former player to be escorted out of Madison Square Garden. Credit: Newsday / Jim Baumbach

Charles Oakley appeared at a Manhattan criminal court Tuesday morning for an arraignment hearing stemming from a series of misdemeanor charges he faces after a scuffle with Madison Square Garden security during a February Knicks game.

After a three-minute hearing, Oakley was ordered to file motions by May 16 and appear again on May 30. He faces two assault charges, two harassment charges and criminal trespassing.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, Oakley was the first of about 125 cases called before judge Judy Kim at the lower Manhattan courthouse. The former Knicks player remained silent while assistant district attorney Ryan Lipes read the charges.

According to Lipes, Oakley told police during his arrest that he had “a couple of drinks” before arriving at the Garden for the Knicks-Clippers game Feb. 8. “Every time I come to the Garden, Dolan has security guards on me,” Oakley told police, referring to Knicks owner James Dolan. “Every time I come to the Garden, nothing good happens.”

Before the hearing, Oakley said he was hopeful that the charges would be dismissed. “Should be a good day,” he said. But afterward he said he is at peace with waiting until next month to give his version of events in court.

“I don’t feel disrespected,” he said. “It’s part of life. There were a lot of people in there who did something and were defending themselves. It’s a process.”

He acknowledged that he told police that night that he had two drinks before coming to the Garden. “I didn’t buy the liquor there,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”

According to the criminal complaint obtained by Newsday, Thomas Redmond, an event manager at Madison Square Garden, said he asked Oakley to leave three times after observing him curse and yell. Redmond said Oakley then proceeded to “shove him and strike him with his hand,” according to the complaint.

Another witness, identified in the complaint as Jayson Jacknow, said Oakley also shoved and struck him in the arm “with the side of his hand, causing redness and bruising that lasted for several days, a laceration to his hand and substantial pain.”

Oakley insisted after the hearing he did nothing wrong that night.

“I bought the ticket,” he said. “I sat in my seat. Eight people came over and the next thing you know you’re being dragged out of the Garden.”

After the incident, Dolan announced that Oakley was banned from returning and the Garden released witness statements from anonymous employees contradicting Oakley’s account.

The Garden ban was lifted a few days later following a meeting with Dolan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Oakley’s friend Michael Jordan taking part via conference call. Oakley has remained coy regarding whether he ever will return to the Garden for another Knicks game.

“I was in Brooklyn to see the Knicks,” Oakley said outside court. “So I go to Knicks games in New York.”

A spokesman for Madison Square Garden declined to comment.


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