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Wednesday, November 20
 
Iverson's fear of police: I could be dead tomorrow

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson is afraid police are targeting him and he might want to leave the city, according to published reports.

Allen Iverson
Iverson

"I want to be in Philadelphia, but I'm scared to be here," the NBA star told The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News in Tuesday's editions.

They were Iverson's first public comments about his off-the-court troubles last summer.

Police commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson has ordered his department to look into the matter, according to reports out of Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Johnson has directed deputy commissioner John Norris, the head of internal affairs, to contact the Sixers "in an attempt to interview Mr. Iverson or his family regarding his allegations of police misconduct," William Colarulo, chief of the department's public affairs unit, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I don't believe any police officer threatened anybody," Johnson told reporters at a Philadelphia TV station, where he had attended a seminar Tuesday.

After Tuesday night's loss to the New Orleans Hornets, Iverson clarified that he'd prefer to stay in Philadelphia with better treatment by police.

"If you've talked to me over the past six or seven years you know that (leaving Philadelphia) is not something I want to do," Iverson said. "I want to be right in Philadelphia. It's as simple as that."

Iverson and his wife, Tawanna, gave an interview to the newspapers Monday at the 76ers' practice facility, to blunt the impact of what the couple said is an unflattering TV news report on Iverson's personal life. The interview was attended by their lawyer, Larry Woodward.

"I've heard about police officers toasting to Allen Iverson's next felony conviction," Iverson said. "I'm hearing about them saying I'm involved with one thing or another, and it scares me. I know that if there's a crooked cop out there, they could do anything to me. He could do anything. Allen Iverson could wind up dead tomorrow if a crooked cop wants him dead. It's as simple as that."

I know that if there's a crooked cop out there, they could do anything to me. He could do anything. Allen Iverson could wind up dead tomorrow if a crooked cop wants him dead.
Allen Iverson

A spokesman for the police department, Inspector William Colarulo, said misconduct of any nature would never be tolerated by police commissioner Sylvester Johnson.

Iverson did not speak to reporters at the team's morning shootaround in New Orleans before Tuesday night's game against the Hornets. The Sixers had no immediate comment on the report.

During the 90-minute interview with the newspapers, the Iversons also denied reports of domestic abuse.

Iverson and his uncle were accused of barging into an apartment on July 3 and threatening the two men inside while Iverson looked for his wife after he allegedly threw her out of their house. He was charged with several felonies, but the charges were eventually dropped.

"My husband never hit me, and he did not throw me out of the house naked," Tawanna Iverson said.

Anticipating that Philadelphia TV station WTXF is planning a news segment raising questions about Iverson's lifestyle, the couple thought it was time to speak out. The NBA star had been advised by his lawyers to not discuss the situation.

WTXF news director Scott Matthews said it is the station's policy not to confirm or deny the content of any of its programs.

Iverson is concerned about the media attention he and his wife have received since last summer.

"I worry about Tawanna all the time," he said. "She rides with security before the game, after the game. There's security for 24 hours at our house."




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 Police Response
Philadelphia police commissioner Sylvester Johnson responds to Allen Iverson's comments.
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