Unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton is visiting with the Vikings on Thursday, but he’s also the center of a lawsuit from a bar altercation where he is alleged to have bitten the restaurant owner.
WFAA in Dallas released surveillance video on Wednesday from a Dec. 23 arrest in Grapevine Chill restaurant and sports bar. Melton allegedly bit through the skin of Donald Payne, the owner, near his kidney, according to his attorney Darren Wolf. It took four people to remove Melton from the bar just before 2 a.m.
"When he was asked to leave, his belligerence and unruliness turned into violence," Wolf told WFAA.
Melton, who graduated from Grapevine High (about 20 minutes from Dallas) and played at Texas, was arrested and charged with assault and public intoxication. It’s difficult to tell but the report suggest there was at least one punch thrown in the video.
Payne has filed a lawsuit seeking over $1 million. Melton allegedly told restaurant workers that he “was a millionaire and the bartenders were nothing but poor white trash,” according to the lawsuit. Payne was taken to the hospital and released, accoridng to the report.
"There's some psychological injury there," Wolf said. "The thought of another human being you don't know biting through your skin, piercing your skin... it's a pretty frightening experience. And it's dangerous."
Melton’s agent, Jordan Woy gave WFAA this statement: “We have recently reviewed the lawsuit and do not believe the validity of the allegations made. We look forward to providing the true facts in court and will defend this matter vigorously. We will seek to hold The Chill and others accountable for any and all damages Henry has suffered at the hands of multiple men who attacked him.”
The Vikings dealt with four player arrests last season. Linebacker Erin Henderson, who was released in the offseason, was arrested twice in six weeks and charged with DWI and drunken driving. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who is an unrestricted free agent, avoided jail time after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree DWI.
Cornerback A.J. Jefferson was cut hours after he was arrested on a domestic assault charge.