Houston Rockets guard Rafer Alston charged with assault


Act_rafer_alston.jpgRafer Alston, a National Basketball Asoociation (NBA) guard for the Houston Rockets was charged Tuesday for slashing a man's neck during a brawl at a Manhattan nightspot. This was his second breach of the law this month.

Alston was arraigned on felony assault charges before being released without bail. A judge ordered him to return to court Jan. 3. His lawyer said he was "absolutely innocent."

The man who said he was injured told police the incident occurred
on Monday after he and Alston accidentally bumped into each other inside Club Stereo. During an ensuing argument, the man said, Alston slashed his neck.

The 41-year-old went to a hospital to be treated for a minor neck injury then filed a complaint at a police precinct. Defense attorney Alberto Ebanks said witnesses told him the man did not appear to be injured when he left the club and never alerted police officers who were in the area.

The arrest came three weeks after 31-year-old Alston was charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication in Houston. Alston was accused in that case, of grabbing a parking attendant's arm, shaking him and spitting on him after his vehicle was towed from a lot. The attendant said Alston parked illegally and didn't pay. Alston told a Houston television station that he didn't do anything to the attendant.

The 6-foot-2 player out of Fresno State joined the NBA during the 1999-2000 season with Milwaukee. He signed with the Rockets in 2004 and averaged 13.3 points per game last season. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets general manager, said the team learned of Alston's arrest Tuesday morning.

"Obviously, it is troubling that Rafer was again in a situation involving the police," Morey said while addressing reporters. "We take these matters very seriously; the Rockets expect all employees to represent the organization in a first-class manner. Until more facts are gathered from all parties, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."