NY firefighter faces more charges in NFL assault case

Rookie firefighter Scott Smith has been suspended without pay, pending an investigation

By Tim Prudente
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Additional charges have been brought against two men from New York accused of seriously beating a 55-year-old man from Jessup at a Ravens game Oct. 2.

Scott Smith, 30, of Mount Vernon and Andrew Nappi, 31, of Eastchester were each initially charged with first- and second-degree assault. On Thursday, the men also were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit assault and reckless endangerment, said Rochelle Ritchie, spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office. Online court records did not list trial dates.

Andrew Nappi (left) and Scott Smith (right). (Baltimore Police Department via AP)
Andrew Nappi (left) and Scott Smith (right). (Baltimore Police Department via AP)

Joseph Bauer was punched in his head and shoved down, according to charging documents. A Ravens fan and season-ticket holder, Bauer hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious. He suffered a serious brain injury, his family said.

Bauer remains under care at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopedic Institute, his sister Susan Bauer said. He continues to recover slowly from the "life-altering" brain injury, she said.

Nappi told officers the men argued and Bauer threw a bottle that hit Smith in the head, police said in charging documents. Only plastic and aluminum bottles are sold at M&T Bank Stadium.

Nappi told police he then punched Bauer in the face, according to the charging documents. Smith shoved Bauer to the ground where he hit his head, Bauer's wife, Sharon, told police.

A witness, Gary Greggs, confirmed the account to officers, police wrote in the charging documents. The cause of the argument remains unclear. Nappi and Smith were fans of the visiting Oakland Raiders, police said.

Smith's attorney, Andrew Alperstein, disputed that account.

"Our investigation is uncovering a vastly different version of the story," he said. "We look forward to Mr. Smith's day in court."

Smith is a rookie firefighter in the Mount Vernon Fire Department. He was suspended without pay pending an investigation.

"He has no record and he has never been in trouble before," Alperstein said.

Nappi's attorney, Marc Zayon, also is investigating.

"We wish a speedy and full recovery to Joseph Bauer," Zayon said.

The fight brought renewed attention to the persistent problem of fan brawls in professional sports. Ravens coach John Harbaugh called the incident "absolutely inexcusable."

Team officials continue to express concern and support for the Bauer family, Susan Bauer said. A Ravens spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

A former Marine, Bauer works at Schuster Concrete. He has two grown children — a daughter who is a dentist in the Navy and a son who also works at Schuster Concrete — and has been a Ravens fan since the team came to Baltimore, his family said.

His injuries drew sympathy from Ravens and Raiders fans alike.

A bouquet of flowers was sent to his hospital room with a card — "Mr. Bauer, I wanted to extend my sincerest condolences" — signed a Raiders fan.

Copyright 2016 The Baltimore Sun

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