DETROIT – Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph was arrested on a marijuana charge after several police cars were vandalized when a large gathering became unruly at a Los Angeles housing project, authorities said last Thursday.
Randolph, 36, a former Michigan State Spartan, was taken into custody late Wednesday on suspicion of possessing marijuana with intent to sell, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Norma Eisenman.
Friend of Randolph and former Detroit Pistons star Rasheed Wallace thinks the 'intent to sell' part is offbase.
"I know for a fact he ain't no dope dealer," Sheed told TMZ Sports. "It seems to be -- no matter who you are -- the bigger the paycheck, the bigger the party."
California legalized recreational marijuana in November, but state law allows for possession of only up to one ounce of the drug, and selling it without a license remains illegal.
“The charges are false and misleading,” Randolph’s agent and lawyer Raymond Brothers said on Thursday. “We’re looking at all options to resolve this matter.”
Police on patrol observed a crowd drinking, smoking marijuana, blasting music and blocking streets at the Nickerson Gardens project in Watts, the authorities said.
The officers observed three people, including Randolph, “reach for their waist bands” and then run away from the officers, Eisenman said in a statement.
An officer detained one of the three men — who was questioned and released — while Randolph and another man, Stanley Walton, went inside a home, police said.
A crowd began to form and the bystanders tried to block the officers, the authorities said. Officers were able to enter the home, and they arrested Randolph and Walton inside.
After the arrests, the crowd grew and people began throwing bottles and rocks, the police said.
Five police cars and one sheriff’s vehicle ended up with smashed windows and slashed tires. No officers were hurt.
Walton, 43, was arrested on suspicion of carrying a gun as a former convict. A police spokeswoman said she did not know if he had a lawyer.
The police said they recovered two guns, impounded two vehicles and seized narcotics.
Randolph, a 16-year league veteran, spent eight seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies before signing with the Kings in July. The Kings issued a statement Thursday saying the team was aware of the situation and would have no further comment at this time.
The two-time N.B.A. All-Star played for Michigan State before being drafted in 2001 by the Portland Trail Blazers. Randolph also played for the Los Angeles Clippers.