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Former Nets player charged with assault

On March 2, former pro basketball player William Willoughby was arrested after allegedly getting into an altercation with two police officers in New Jersey. Willoughby, age 58, played with the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets.

According to authorities, Hackensack police encountered Willoughby while responding to a report of a suspicious person. Officers said they asked the former basketball star what he was doing in the area and attempted to pat him down, but he acted evasive and tried to pull away from them. They allege that he then began kicking and punching them, injuring at least one officer. He was arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated assault on a police officer and third-degree purposely preventing or attempting to prevent a law enforcement officer from affecting an arrest. He was released on bail.

Willoughby, a native of Englewood, told local media that he was assaulted by officers and suffered a black eye and a fractured nose. He said he is in the process of retaining an attorney. He was one of the first NBA players to turn pro straight out of high school. He retired from the game at age 27.

New Jersey residents charged with aggravated assault or other violent crimes can face harsh consequences if they are convicted. As such, they might find it advisable to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the charges have been filed. An attorney could scrutinize the case for signs of police misconduct. Legal counsel could also look for evidence and witness testimony that casts doubt on the prosecution's version of events.

Source: ABC 7, "EX-NBA PLAYER ACCUSED OF SCUFFLING WITH POLICE OFFICERS IN HACKENSACK, NJ," March 4, 2016

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