Vinnie Jones arrested after getting wild in the West
Of all the glasses in all the bars, the hard man actor had to walk into this one. Now he's on bail in Sioux Falls and nursing his wounds
Sunday 07 December 2008
From grabbing Gazza's private parts on the football field, to facing down smart-alecky members of the Oxford Union, former hod-carrier Vinnie Jones has made a good living from playing the role of tough guy.
But the one-time member of Wimbledon FC's Crazy Gang – as his unskilled but robust teammates styled themselves in their 1980s heyday – found that his image counts for little in the American Midwest.
Jones reportedly needed hospital treatment after coming second best in a bar brawl which, according to the Argus Leader paper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, began over a game of pool and a reference to Jones's film roles.
Jones, who also played for Leeds United, has carved out a mildly successful career in Hollywood, appearing in Guy Ritchie's gangster caper Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as Bacardi TV adverts.
He took offence in Wiley's Tavern on Thursday, however, when he was asked if he'd appeared in the movie X-Men. Jones, the Argus Leader reports, had approached a group of men playing pool and asked if he could have a game. Told he'd have to wait, he was then asked by Jesse Bickett, 24, if he was "that guy from X-Men", a question which upset the 43-year-old actor, according to witness Juan Barrera.
"He got offended by that, and he started pushing my other friends around," Mr Barrera said. "He said he's been in so many other movies or whatever."
Mr Barrera then went to the men's lavatory. In the meantime, according to police sergeant Tim Hagen, a small melee broke out and Jones charged Mr Bickett, who responded by hitting the actor in the face with his beer glass.
"He got the worst of that deal," Mr Hagen said. Mr Bickett was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
When Mr Barrera came out of the lavatory he found Jones was coming towards him covered in blood, and punched him. Mr Barrera countered with two punches of his own, which knocked Jones to the floor.
"His whole face was covered in blood," Mr Barrera said. "I just walked out the restroom, didn't say a word to him... and he struck me in the mouth."
Jones was treated at Sanford Medical Center for cuts to his face, and arrested and charged with assault before being released on bail.
A spokeswoman for Sanford USD Medical Center said: "He was brought in for observation. He had a laceration of the head and a nasal injury. He has since been discharged."
Jones's manager, Alex Cole, told the Argus Leader that the actor was on holiday and had possibly gone to Sioux Falls to hunt. Mr Bickett's mother warned Jones that he "doesn't want to run into me". She said her son had "major hospital bills over his head. He told me it was self-defence".
The incident is not the first time Jones has found himself in trouble. In 1995 he bit the nose of a reporter after a football riot. Three years later he was convicted of kicking and stamping on a neighbour during a late-night attack. And in 2003 Jones was convicted of air rage offences committed on a flight the previous year.
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