Tony Allen Remains in Jail

October 21, 2005

Tony Allen remained in a Chicago jail last night after returning to his hometown and voluntarily surrendering to police Wednesday. The second-year Celtics guard is being questioned about a fight that escalated into a shooting Aug. 28 at the White Palace Grill in the West Loop. Allen's attorney, Michael Zaslavsky, expects Allen will be either released or formally charged today. Neither Zaslavsky nor the Chicago Police Department would comment on the charges, citing an ongoing investigation. Allen is not considered a suspect in the shooting.

"We voluntarily surrendered Mr. Allen at 12 o'clock [Wednesday] afternoon," said Zaslavsky, who visited Allen in jail. "I expect if they act to charge him, it will be by [this] morning. And if so, we expect a bond hearing [this] afternoon."

    A bond hearing would set bail and allow Allen to pay for his release. Under the Illinois criminal code, law enforcement can hold someone as a material witness for 48 hours without a warrant. Before last Saturday's exhibition game between the Celtics and Bulls at the United Center, four plainclothes policemen appeared at the visitors' locker room and asked for Allen, who was injured and had remained in Boston.

Once out of jail, either through release without being charged or on bond, Allen should be free to return to Boston and continue rehabbing from right knee surgery. The Celtics remain publicly supportive of Allen.

"Our reaction to [the arrest] is the same," said executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "We're frustrated that Tony got himself into this situation. I'm not saying he's guilty. I'm just saying that I'm frustrated that he got himself in this predicament. That's all. We're standing by Tony. We'll just let him and his attorney handle it. That's all I'm saying."

Added owner Wyc Grousbeck: "We are in communication with Tony's attorney and the NBA legal and security team is also monitoring the situation. We can't comment more due to a pending investigation, but have told Tony previously that we are disappointed if he was even nearby a late-night argument and disturbance. Hopefully, he will be cleared upon further investigation."

Just how involved Allen was in the early-morning altercation and shooting is uncertain. The fight followed a party at a different location celebrating the Celtics signing free agent Will Bynum, a teammate of Allen's at Crane High School in Chicago.

According to a complaint filed with the Circuit Court of Cook County by plaintiffs Marktwain Johnson and Nigel Odum, against Allen, the White Palace Grill, and its owner, George Liakopoulos, Allen played a central role in instigating the fight and subsequent shooting. Johnson and Odum allege Allen entered the restaurant with a group of 10-15 men and immediately "turned his attention to Plaintiff Johnson and . . . began to verbally threaten [him]" and "then instructed an unknown member of his entourage to '[expletive] him up,' referring to Plaintiff Johnson."

Johnson was shot in the left arm and left side, while Odum claims Allen punched him and fractured his left eye socket. The complaint claims that it was a member of Allen's entourage that "took a gun out of his waistband and fired it at close range, intentionally striking Plaintiff Johnson . . ." Both Johnson and Odum are seeking money from Allen "in excess of $50,000" plus funds to cover legal expenses.

Allen, a 6-foot-4-inch, 213-pound guard, was selected with the No. 25 pick in the 2004 NBA draft and enjoyed a relatively successful rookie season, averaging 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and making 34 regular-season starts. Until surgery to repair a torn right knee ligament Sept. 13, Allen was expected to compete for a starting job again this season and play significant minutes as part of the rotation.

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