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Chargers’ Lee May Sue in ID Case

October 28, 1997

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Shawn Lee is considering filing a lawsuit after he was detained by police in a case of mistaken identity, his attorney said Monday.

Lee and a companion were handcuffed and questioned Friday by three officers with a regional car theft task force. They were eventually released.

Lee’s attorney is Peter Ginsberg, who represented Dallas Cowboys players Michael Irvin and Erik Williams in the settlement of a defamation lawsuit against a Dallas television station.

``I think from Shawn’s perspective, he’s concerned that if he and others don’t publicly express their disgust with such treatment, that this kind of treatment will continue,″ Ginsberg said from his Washington, D.C., office.

``One obvious way to express that view is ... a lawsuit seeking redress for violation of constitutional rights. Shawn’s a very thoughtful person and is weighing various factors involved in taking that kind of action.″

Lee was not in the Chargers’ locker room during the 45 minutes it was open to reporters Monday, and later said through a team spokesman that he had no comment.

``I don’t know whether he’ll want to respond (legally) or chalk it up as a bad experience,″ Lee’s agent, Alan Herman, said from New York. ``He’s the one who had to suffer through this. It’s not a pleasant thing to be pulled over and put into handcuffs. It was quite upsetting.″

Part of the incident was caught on videotape by KUSI-TV, but the station doesn’t plan to air it because Lee wasn’t arrested, news director Tom Mitchell said.

The cameraman reportedly was shoved over a guardrail by an officer after being told to turn off the camera.

California Highway Patrol Capt. Dave Stuflick, commander of the regional auto theft task force _ known as the RAT team _ called the incident ``embarrassing″ and said it was under investigation.

Chargers officials said they were told Lee’s car matched the description of a vehicle that had been reported stolen from a shopping center near the team’s practice complex.

Stuflick said the real suspect was later apprehended.

``Sometimes there are miscommunications,″ Stuflick said. ``We’re just grateful nothing more serious occurred.″

On the player front, reserve defensive back Mark Montreuil has a torn ligament in his right knee and is out for the season. Backup linebacker Toran James has a bruised right knee and the team suspects there is cartilage damage that may require arthroscopic surgery.

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