Report: Charles Oakley accuses Knicks owner James Dolan of orchestrating alleged assault in court filing

Jason Owens
·2 min read

Charles Oakley accused New York Knicks owner James Dolan of orchestrating an alleged assault by Madison Square Garden security in new court papers filed in a three-year-old civil case, The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reports.

The new filings stem from a long-simmering conflict between the two sides that overflowed when security forcefully removed Oakley from MSG during a Knicks game in 2017 following a scuffle in the baseline stands.

Oakley sued after Dolan assault charges were dropped

Oakley, a fan favorite from his stint as a Knicks enforcer in the 1990s, was charged with misdemeanor assault, harassment and trespassing after the incident. Oakley accepted a plea agreement, and charges were dismissed in 2018.

Dolan banned Oakley from MSG, and the two sides have engaged in a public war of words disparaging each other since. Oakley filed a civil suit against Dolan and the Knicks in September of 2017, accusing security personnel of assault, battery and false imprisonment. He accused Dolan of defamation in the suit.

Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan dismissed the suit in February, writing in his decision that “Oakley grossly misunderstands the law concerning a landlord’s right to remove a trespasser from its property.”

Charles Oakley is shown before an NBA basketball game between the Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers
Long-simmering beef between Charles Oakley and James Dolan has a new layer.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Case revived, Oakley claims new evidence against Dolan

Oakley vowed to appeal the decision, and the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the assault and battery claim. Those claims were originally filed against MSG, but Oakley wants to now name Dolan personally, according to documents obtained by Kaplan.

Oakley’s legal team claims that new video evidence demonstrates that Dolan instructed his security team to carry out the alleged assault. Per the new filing obtained by The Athletic:

“After filing the Amended Complaint (in 2018), Plaintiff came into possession of evidence that demonstrated that Mr. Dolan, too, engaged in sufficient conduct to be held liable for the assault and battery at issue in this case.

“Specifically, Plaintiff learned the following concerning the moments before and after the alleged assault and battery: during a stoppage in game play, while Plaintiff was not acting boisterously, Mr. Dolan, after looking at Plaintiff, called over and conferred with a security guard; that guard then walked away and joined a group of approximately ten other security guards that had assembled on the side of the court.”

MSG responded to the new claims in a statement provided to The Athletic.

“All claims against Jim Dolan have been dismissed, including on appeal, so we fully expect the court to once again find this latest attempt entirely without merit,” the statement reads.

Oakley and MSG have long maintained that Oakley was the instigator in the incident.

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