“I have never experienced anything like we did Sunday night.”
By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
The husband of the woman grabbed around the throat by a Pittsburgh Steelers fan on Dec. 2 at Heinz Field tells the Pittsburgh Current and his pregnant wife had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse the entire evening and that security failed to address the assault both before and after the physical attack. They also plan on pursuing charges against the man they say assaulted them.
Daniel Minshew and his wife are from the San Diego area and they travel a few times a year for Chargers away games. A friend saw the Pittsburgh Current’s story Monday and forwarded Minshew the link. Photographer Shelley Lipton captured a photo of a much larger Steelers fan grabbing a woman in a Chargers jersey around the throat.
Lipton says the larger Steelers fan attacked a man wearing a Chargers suit, Minshew’s regular game-day attire. Lipton saw the woman, who we now know is pregnant, try to intervene to protect her husband. Lipton didn’t notice until she processed the photo that the Steelers fan, who was at least twice the woman’s size, grabbed her around the throat.
Minshew says Lipton’s account is “pretty accurate,” and he “felt obligated to reach out to you in light of the events that transpired that night.” Minshew and his wife returned home Monday evening, he explained in a later phone call. His wife, who is 26 weeks pregnant, will be seeing her doctor today after experiencing back pain after the assault. But that’s not the only call he’ll be making.
“I plan on calling police officials today about filing criminal charges,” Minshew says. “The account given by the freelance photographer is pretty accurate in describing the events of the attack, but it is what transpired before and after that really has me shaking my head,” Minshew wrote in an email. “My wife and I attend several road games annually and I myself have been to approximately a dozen away games and have never experienced anything like we did Sunday night.” Minshew says that includes a game in Oakland two weeks ago.
Minshew says he had been ”heckled and yelled at prior to the attack, but for the most part it was nothing abnormal that I wouldn’t consider uncustomary for an NFL game.” However, the man in the photo assaulting Minshew’s wife was inebriated before halftime, according to the Chargers fan. Minshew wears a custom suit and hat to each game. At one point, the aggressor walked behind Minshew and knocked his hat off of the visitor’s head. Minshew says he tried to alert field security of the issue and asked them to keep an eye on the fans around the couple. “There was no direct acknowledgement made of my request and there was no further incident (physical that is) that occurred until the one mentioned in your story.”
But Minshew says he was in disbelief when after the assault, he tried to talk to field security because concourse-level security never arrived on the scene. Further, Minshew says he told several field security officers that he wanted to press assault charges, even if they were only misdemeanor counts. His hope at the very least was that the fan would be barred from future events.
“Not only was there an assault, but my wife is also 26-and-a-half weeks pregnant and I legitimately feared for both our safety,” Minshew says. “After the assault … no security or presence of law enforcement was visible in the actual section and the only way we felt t[we could] safely exit the stadium was with a large group of Charger fans.
“This was one of the worst experiences I have ever encountered and I am astonished that this was captured with visual evidence and a third-party [corroborating} statement, yet no security member would take my statement, let alone attend to my pregnant wife and I after the incident to see if we were OK.”
The Current has provided relevant information to Steelers officials and will update when a statement becomes available.
Update: 11:30 a.m.
Minshew tells the Current that he has reached out to Pittsburgh Police Zone 1, the Mayor’s office and the D.A.’s office. As of yet, he says, he hasn’t heard back from anyone.
Update: 2:30 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Police have confirmed that they are aware of the incident and are investigating.
A spokesperson from Heinz Field has released this statement:
“We strive to make events at Heinz Field safe for our guests. This type of behavior seen in the photo is unacceptable and something we do not condone on our property. We are working with Heinz Field security as well as local authorities to gather more information on this particular incident as the Pittsburgh Police determines whether or not to press charges, and we will ensure those involved as the aggressors will not be permitted back into our stadium.”