Charges against the former Knicks star Charles Oakley stemming from an altercation at Madison Square Garden in February were dismissed Friday. While Mr. Oakley had originally promised to fight the charges all the way through the legal process, he accepted a dismissal at Manhattan Criminal Court and asserted that it proved he had been in the right.
“Happy, sad, I don’t know, it’s life,” Mr. Oakley, 54, said to reporters. “But like I said from Day 1, I wasn’t wrong.”
Mr. Oakley had been removed from the Garden after being surrounded by security at his courtside seat. What instigated the incident remains murky: Mr. Oakley professed that he did nothing wrong, while the Garden said he “shouting and cursing,” apparently in the direction of the team’s owner, James L. Dolan.
He ultimately was taken away after pushing a security guard twice. He was arrested and charged with three counts of third-degree assault and one count of criminal trespass, all of which were misdemeanors.
“The case is being dismissed,” said Alex Spiro, Mr. Oakley’s lawyer. “Mr. Oakley has been vindicated.”
The Knicks declined to comment.
But while he is no longer facing criminal charges, Mr. Oakley plans to pursue legal action against Mr. Dolan in civil court.
“Mr. Oakley intends to pursue all civil remedies against Mr. Dolan personally,” Mr. Spiro said. He did not elaborate or provide a timeline. One possible option for Oakley could be a defamation suit against Mr. Dolan.
Oakley did not come out of the process free of consequence however. He was served with a civil trespass order, which will keep him away from the famed arena for one year. Oakley made his name there, but now can not legally step foot into the building.
He had originally been barred from Madison Square Garden after the incident. But that was lifted later in the month after N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan intervened to broker a détente between the two sides.
Knicks fans largely sided with Oakley, one of the team’s most popular players, after the incident. Chants of “Free Oakley” were heard at games.
Mr. Oakley did not seem emotional at the ban. “Hey, that’s life,” he said Friday.