No charges for Backe from brawl

May 26, 2009 4:52:37 PM PDT
A Galveston County grand jury declined Tuesday to indict Houston Astros pitcher Brandon Backe and three others on misdemeanor charges stemming from a fight with police that broke out at a post-wedding party in October. Backe, 31, and 12 other people arrested after the Oct. 5, 2008, altercation at the San Luis Resort swimming pool bar in Galveston. Backe was charged with interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, and he was released on $1,500 bond.

The incident was reportedly touched off when an off-duty officer working security at the bar tried to arrest Daniel O'Balle, the brother of the bride, for allegedly entering a pool bar area with an open liquor container. During a struggle, O'Balle allegedly hit one officer in the chest and another in the face.

The grand jury dropped five felony charges against O'Balle and recommended a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

"It's nice," Backe told the Houston Chronicle in Cincinnati, where the Astros were playing the Reds. "I wish it didn't have to go all the way to a grand jury. I felt confident through all of this that everything was going to come out with the right verdict."

Wedding guests accused officers of using excessive force, but no officers were indicted. More than a dozen officers were reprimanded later for improperly documenting the incident in reports.

Backe is playing his sixth season with the Astros. He's been on the disabled list since spring training with strained muscles in his left side, but manager Cecil Cooper said Backe could return to the rotation as early as this week.

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