Country Star McGraw in Assault Rap

Friday, June 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tim McGraw said he was trying to protect his children when he intervened between New York police and fellow country singer Kenny Chesney.

McGraw and Chesney were arrested June 3 in Orchard Park, N.Y., after officers said Chesney took a police horse without permission from a backstage area. Police said McGraw attacked them when they tried to stop Chesney.

In a statement, McGraw said he tried to intervene when he saw officers trying to ``rip (Chesney) from the horse,'' even after Chesney had raised his hands to surrender.

``At no time did I throw any punches or put anyone in anything remotely resembling a choke hold,'' McGraw said. ``One of the officers pulled his nightstick and hit me at least three times on my leg.''

He said he also feared for the safety of his children, who were playing in the area.

McGraw, 33, husband of country star Faith Hill, was charged with felony assault, obstructing governmental administration, menacing and resisting arrest. Chesney, 32, was charged with disorderly conduct.

A court hearing is set for July 18.

Chesney has said he had permission to take the horse and that the incident was ``blown way out of proportion.''