NBA’s Charles Oakley sues Aria, security officers over alleged ‘beatdown’

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

In this Jan. 20, 2011 photo, Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach Charles Oakley, right, talks with Eduardo Najera, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Charlotte, N.C.

NBA "enforcer" power forward Charles Oakley, now an NBA assistant coach, hit a Las Vegas casino resort with a lawsuit Thursday charging he was beaten and injured by security guards during a May 2010 incident.

Attorneys for Oakley, 47, filed suit in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas against the Aria hotel-casino at MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip. Also sued were five named security officers as well as security officers "Does 1-10."

The suit says Oakley was an invited guest at Aria’s VIP pool area on May 28 when he left the area and was then prevented from re-entering the VIP section by Aria security officers and staff.

"After a verbal altercation" with security officers, Oakley attempted to return to his room when he was "assaulted" by the officers in a secluded area of the resort, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit called this a "gang-style beatdown" by at least five security officers and says they wrestled Oakley to the ground, punched him, handcuffed him and detained him before he was taken by paramedics to Desert Springs hospital for treatment in the emergency room.

The incident left Oakley with injuries to his neck, back, head and wrist, "all or some of which may be permanent and disabling," the suit alleges.

A spokeswoman said MGM Resorts International, which likely hasn't yet been served with the suit, generally doesn't comment on pending litigation.

The suit alleges negligence, assault, assault with excessive force, battery, false imprisonment and defamation.

The defamation count says the handcuffing of Oakley was witnessed by hotel guests and the suit says they were led to "falsely believe and assume that Oakley had committed and been guilty of some crime or wrongdoing."

The suit seeks unspecified general, special and punitive damages.

One of the attorneys who filed the suit, James Smyth II, said Friday he couldn’t comment or elaborate on the complaint. He’s with the Las Vegas law firm Kaempfer Crowell Renshaw Gronauer & Fiorentino.

Several websites last year posted photos of Oakley that appeared to show him recovering in a hospital just after the incident.

Oakley has been one of the VIPs who participated in Michael Jordan’s Celebrity Invitational golf fundraiser – now presented by Aria.

Oakley, who is listed at as being 6-feet-9-inches tall and weighing 245 pounds, played for Chicago, New York, Toronto, Washington and Houston between 1985 and 2004.

An assistant coach this season with the Charlotte Bobcats, he developed a reputation over the years as an enforcer, tough rebounder and Jordan’s bodyguard.



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  1. someone was just telling me about the deplorable actions of Aria security yesterday. They nabbed one of their friends outside of Gold when she stepped out to use the phone and accused her of being a prostitute. Security called the police in, they ran her ID, saw an old arrest for Theft, changed the accusation from Prostitution to Purse Snatching and 86'd her from the property. I'll never go to that place again.

  2. I would wait for the evidence before coming to a conclusion. I've seen a lot of bad customer behavior but I've also witnessed bad security behavior. In the many years of being in Vegas I had one crazy experience with a security guard. It was at MGM. I was with co-workers and we worked late. We stopped at a bar about 10pm and they had drinks. Normally I would have had a drink as well but I had only water. When I walked to the restroom, what seemed to be a hooker approached me. Right after that a security guard with an IQ of about ten asked for our ID's. The guy was wanting trouble. He asked me how much I had to drink. My friends were watching. I told him I had no alchohol all day and he got beligerent and told me he didn't believe me. He puffed his chest out and asked me to go with him. I didn't. I asked for a manager. He told me we didn't need a manager. My friends came over and I asked them to get a hotel manager and the guard got really pissed. He said he'd handcuff me. I told my friends to call the police. About that time the manager showed up and we told him what happened. He apologized and sent the guard on his way. If he didn't fire that guy then they had a real potential problem just waiting for them. And who knows, maybe that guy got moved over to ARIA?






  4. So this is what Vegas has become.......big, bad-ass security people who beat people up rather than call the police to resolve a dispute? Why? The last time I was there, there were plenty of uniformed officers working the strip who could respond within 5-10 minutes. Oh, but it's more fun to just beat them up & teach them a lesson. I went to the Aria for the Elvis show & the much over-priced buffet last September.......was thinking of going to see the show again, but skip the buffet. Not now, they can sink with that place. I don't go for that kind of stuff.

  5. Several decades ago Binions had it's own goon squad,
    It was baseball batting practice on the night shift.
    The story made the papers with pictures.
    I made it a practice to never let the sunset on me in that place.
    I played a lot of poker in that joint.