Larry Johnson, a former NFL standout who had a short stay with the Miami Dolphins, was arrested in Miami Beach on Tuesday morning after witnesses say he punched and swung a broken glass bottle at a man — who thought they were friends.
The incident that began with a bump and snowballed into a fight started off innocently enough, or so Drew Johnson thought. It ended with Drew Johnson bloodied and beaten, witnesses say, after Larry Johnson, a six-foot, two-inch, 220-pound former professional athlete shoved him, punched him and cut him with a broken glass bottle.
According to police and witnesses, Larry Johnson, 34, was at a club at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., at 3:35 a.m., when he physically bumped into Drew Johnson, 29, a local club promoter. Drew Johnson, not thinking much of the bump, meandered over to talk with Larry Johnson to “smooth” things out.
That’s when, the police report says, Larry Johnson attacked and struck Drew Johnson, causing him to catapult over a table and suffer cuts from a broken glass bottle.
“According to the victim the arrestee then punched him on the right side of his face, knocking him onto the floor,” the report says.
Larry Johnson wasn’t done, according to the complaint.
“This is when the arrestee broke a bottle on the table and began swinging it toward him,” the report says. Drew Johnson suffered cuts on his right hand and on the inside of his left forearm.
The complaint goes on to say that Larry Johnson threw Drew Johnson over a table and punched him several times as he lay on the club’s floor, before Drew Johnson managed to get outside the hotel, where he was seen bleeding from the neck.
Drew Johnson then called police, the report says. Police found Larry Johnson as he was being escorted from the club by security guards, who broke up the fight quickly.
Larry Johnson was arrested and charged with aggravated battery after a witness told police the former NFL running back “hit the victim several times with an object in his hand.”
Though they share a last name, the two men are not related.
Larry Johnson defended himself, telling police he confronted Drew Johnson before the fight after the promoter took drinks from the former football player’s table. He said when he turned his back, Drew Johnson pushed him onto a table.
Johnson’s stellar playing career was marred by accusations of violence by women, before ending on a sour note in 2011 when he carried the ball once all season for the Dolphins, for a two-yard gain.
But his time with Miami was an aberration to an otherwise strong playing career.
Johnson is a former Penn State University All-American running back who still is the Kansas City Chief’s third all-time rusher. He also had short stays with the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL’s Washington team.
In 2003, Johnson was charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery after being accused of brandishing a gun during an argument with a former girlfriend. The charges were dropped after he completed a domestic violence diversion program.
In 2009 he was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to reduced charges of disturbing the peace in separate incidents involving two women at two Kansas City nightclubs, the Associated Press reported.
In one of the incidents, a 26-year-old woman accused Johnson of pushing her head at a nightspot. In the other incident, the AP reported, a 24-year-old said Johnson spit out a drink at her and threatened to kill her boyfriend. Both those incidents allegedly took place in 2008.
In 2012, the AP reported, Johnson was arrested at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas after a former girlfriend told police he choked her in the hallway and left her there in her underwear. She told police Johnson choked her until she was unconscious, then she woke up and banged on doors before getting help.
Johnson pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor assault and battery in 2013.
Johnson is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight correctional facility on a $7,500 bond. He had not been released as of Tuesday afternoon.
A representative of the Delano Hotel did not return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.
Miami Herald staff writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.