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Common sense-minded judge tosses octopus-thrower’s misdemeanor as officer fails to show

Updated 3x with a superb summary from Yahoo Sports, citation number included, at 9:09 PM: Well here’s irony for you: WDIV (via RedWingsFeed) reports that the first gentleman who found himself facing a $500 fine and a misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct for having the unfortunate luck of throwing an octopus at Joe Louis Arena after City of Detroit added a new law to the books will not face any further punishment for treading upon the NHL’s toes:

The Farmington man who was fined by the NHL for throwing an octopus on the ice during a Detroit Red Wings game was charged with disorderly conduct.

There is a Detroit city ordinance against throwing objects on the Joe Louis Arena ice during games. Charlie Graves pleaded not guilty April 26 to a disorderly conduct charge. However, the city has decided to drop the charge. The arresting officer never showed up to court Thursday for Graves’ hearing, Graves said.

The NHL fined Graves $500 after he admitted to ushers that he threw an octopus on the Joe Louis Arena ice during a March 21 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It is a 50-something-odd-year tradition,” Graves said. “I feel the city of Detroit takes pride in their tradition, and if the (NHL) commissioner thinks we are going to go down without a fight, he is wrong.”

An octopus was tossed on the ice during a Red Wings first-round playoff game this month. The man who threw that octopus also was charged with disorderly conduct and fined $500 by the NHL. Graves had said he would fight the charge in support of the tradition. .

“I pleaded not guilty, of course,” Graves said in April. “I’m going to fight for this tradition. If I had the chance I’d do it again, of course.”

WDIV posted a video report regarding the incident. Now we’ll find out if Tom Balish, who received notoriety via Deadspin for facing similar charges, will end up doing any community service when his court date comes up.

Update #2: According to WDIV’s Bora Kim, Balish’s charges were also thrown out when the officer didn’t show…

Update #3: Per Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski, a quote or five:

One of the fans that received a fine was Charles Graves, 24, of Farmington, who tossed a mollusk on the ice during a March 24 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He appeared in court on April 26 — wearing a Nicklas Lidstrom jersey, no less — and pleaded not guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.

“I’m going to fight for this tradition. If I had the chance I’d do it again, of course,” said Graves after court to ClickOnDetroit.com.

Graves appeared in court again on Thursday for a hearing on his fine, wearing a Red Wings hat and a red shirt into the building. He heard good news: The case was dismissed because the arresting officer didn’t appear for the hearing, according to WDIV in Detroit.

“I had no idea what they were going to do,” said Graves. “I couldn’t see them actually charging me $500. I think that’s ridiculous for a tradition that’s lasted forever — almost.

“If I were a cop, I wouldn’t want to show up either,” he said. “[And] be the one to ruin everything for everybody.”

And, lest we need reminding:

Multiple Detroit fans received citations for throwing an octopus on the ice in violation of Municipal Code 38-5-4, which prohibits the throwing of objects on the playing area during sporting events. Along with those citations came $500 fines — most notably to a fan named Tom Blaish of Canton, whose tale on Deadspin sparked outrage over the police action.

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Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Winning!

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/07/11 at 09:35 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And for anyone who doesn’t know.. this is standard operating procedure not common sense.. it works with speeding tickets as well.. if your citing officer doesn’t show up to court they have no witness against you so they HAVE to toss it because that leaves only you to testify and you probably wont testify against yourself… id have 10 more points on my DL if I didn’t do this exact same thing whenever I get a speeding ticket

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/07/11 at 09:39 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

“I pleaded not guilty, of course,” Graves said in April. “I’m going to fight for this tradition. If I had the chance I’d do it again, of course.”

Bad. Ass.  Cheers… If he gets fined I’m in for $10, just tell me where to donate.

Posted by Zaze on 07/07/11 at 09:42 PM ET

Avatar

wait, how can the hnl fine a private citizen?

Posted by bhina2 from ann arbor on 07/07/11 at 09:50 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

The city of detroit passed an ordinance making throwing objects on the Joe’s ice a misdemeanor.. NHL probably asked them to enforce it

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/07/11 at 09:57 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

This is the best decision to come from a court in a long time.  Kudos to you judge for throwing this waste-of-time complaint out.  F*c* you Bettman.  Someone should buy the judge a wings jersey.  congrats to grave, keep throwin stanley.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 09:57 PM ET

Avatar

F*c* you Bettman
Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 07:57 PM ET

What you said.

Posted by mc keeper on 07/07/11 at 10:09 PM ET

SYF's avatar

F*c* you Bettman
Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/11 at 07:57 PM ET

What you said.

Posted by mc keeper on 07/07/11 at 08:09 PM ET

+40.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/07/11 at 10:17 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

As HockeytownOverhaul wrote in the second comment, this is simply standard procedure for matters of a minor nature (breaches of ordinances etc…) when the officer fails to show. I haven’t read anything that suggests the judge dismissed this based on the merits.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/07/11 at 10:35 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Im with ya Malik good on the officer.. generally police have to call in to court to see if they’re needed.  They also get paid for 4 hours OT(at least they do in columbus) so this guy could’ve called in and got paid but didn’t so id say good on him.. must be a wings fan too

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/07/11 at 11:01 PM ET

perfection's avatar

he could have just not written the ticket if he’s such a fan

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/08/11 at 12:16 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Who’s the author of the story?  I’m no pharmacist or an attorney, but the NHL has no authority to assess a fine on a private citizen. 

One of the attorneys-at-law in The 19 could expand.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/08/11 at 01:37 AM ET

Avatar

So Bettman is in charge of making laws in Detroit, Bettman-haters?
Grow up.

Fact is, Detroit’s tradition of throwing dead things on the ice sucks. Someone had to speak truth.
I hope they up the fine next year.

Posted by NedSparks on 07/08/11 at 01:58 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

he could have just not written the ticket if he’s such a fan

No he couldn’t.  It’s his job.  It’s not optional to do something you don’t want to do that’s mandated by your employment.

Showing in court, on the other hand…I know it’s standard procedure for arresting officers not to show up for misdemeanor charges and bench trials, but I can’t help but think that maybe a little blue-collar loyalty had something to do with the arresting officer deciding lunch was more important…

“Bring forth the mollusk cast unto me
Let’s be forever let’s forever be free…”

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/08/11 at 03:21 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Good to know that justice does sometimes prevail.

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/08/11 at 11:20 AM ET

cementslinger's avatar

Fact is, Detroit’s tradition of throwing dead things on the ice sucks. Someone had to speak truth.
I hope they up the fine next year.

Posted by NedSparks on 07/07/11 at 11:58 PM ET

That’s not a fact. It is your opinion. And your opinion sucks. Bitch.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/08/11 at 11:25 AM ET

Trish's avatar

Good for the cop who was coerced by the “NHL official” to write this ticket.
This is hopefully what will happen every time one of these dumbazz things is written. 

Moral of the story: Out of Towners like myself need to let our hometown resident buddies toss the octopi no matter how much we wanna chuck that thing over the glass . . .

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 07/08/11 at 12:12 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.