Former Indianapolis Colts lineman Joseph "Joe" Staysniak was arrested Tuesday and charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery causing physical injury and one of strangulation, according to a public statement from his lawyer. According to a probable cause affidavit outlining his arrest, he is accused of assaulting his son and choking his son's boyfriend.
Hendricks County Jail records show that Staysniak, 6-foot-5, was booked into jail at 1:43 a.m. Tuesday on the charges his lawyer confirmed. He was released the same day.
Police responded to a report of a disturbance at Staysniak's home in Brownsburg, Indiana, around midnight Monday night. On arrival, Staysniak's son told authorities he was sitting in a car in front of the property with his boyfriend when a neighbor saw them.
Staysniak allegedly approached the vehicle, opened the rear passenger door, and “grabbed [the boyfriend's] hood and was choking him,” the affidavit said.
The son told officers that his father proceeded to punch him, causing his lip to bleed. He also allegedly punched the boyfriend. According to the the affidavit, the officer was able to observe blood and cuts on his lower lip.
The boyfriend in the vehicle said Staysniak “flashed a gun” and “had it against the side of his face at one point during the incident," the affidavit continued. The son told officers that with the firearm displayed, Staysniak called them "lucky" that he saw who they were.
Staysniak told the sheriff’s office that he had received a call from a neighbor advising him there was a suspicious car in their front yard and he went to investigate. When he approached, he saw who was inside and told the boyfriend he could never return to his property, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Staysniak told officers that he did not hit his son or point his firearm at anyone, but shoved him backward with an "open hand" as he charged. He said that the shove caused his son's mouth to bleed, and they "got into it" after he "tried to attack him." Staysniak and his wife then had to restrain their son, the affidavit said.
"The details of what happened will come out in the courtroom, but we are completely confident that Joe's actions will be conclusively determined to be legal and justified under the circumstance," the statement from Staysniak's lawyer said.
Staysniak spent half of his six-year NFL career playing offensive tackle for the Colts from 1992-95 and retired with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996. Before that, he played briefly for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs after being drafted in the seventh round in 1990. In his retirement, he worked as a radio personality. Starting at WIBC in Indianapolis, he eventually co-hosted The Fan Morning Show, also in Indy, before his departure in 2021. In June 2020, he was suspended for a week without pay after saying on air that Black people need to stop being victims. He also reportedly called kneeling in front of the American flag treasonous and argued the Confederate flag is not racist, adding that he found it hard to believe Black people are targeted by police.
Those comments came during a discussion about protests in Indianapolis, as the country responded to the highly visible killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.