Mildred Harrison, 62, was involved in a bench-clearing brawl at the Akron VFW while watching her son, All-Pro linebacker, James Harrison, and his Pittsburgh Steeler teammates lose to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. Police were called to restore order after the pushing and shoving inside the building spilled outside and VFW employees could no longer contain the situation.
Akron Police Capt. Wyatt Christy offered this version of the events:
"Witnesses at the scene stated that there had been on-going trash talk during the week leading up to the game between Mrs. Harrison and Dorothea Walters, mother-in-law of Cleveland standout RB Joshua Cribbs, a graduate of nearby Kent State. Apparently there has been a long-simmering feud between the two women and it all came to a head when the Browns upset the heavily favored Steelers on Thurs. night."
Midway through the third quarter, following a long gainer for Cribbs, Mrs. Walters began her "Browns Boogaloo" victory dance, setting off Mrs. Harrison, who blindsided the shimmying Walters, knocking her to the floor. Mrs. Harrison stood over the prone Walters, taunting her to get up and "take it like a grandma," at which point the head bartender, Belmont 'Butch' Van Wert, flagged Mrs. Harrison for a personal foul and, following a brief consultation with the other bartenders, ejected her from the establishment."
"At this time, several Browns fans surrounded Mrs. Harrison and made physical contact with her, causing an equal number of black-and-gold clad supporters of Mrs. Harrison to engage the Browns fans. Soon, the entire crowd at the VFW was involved in the scuffle as the bartenders attempted to isolate Mrs. Harrison and escort her out of the building. Once outside the VFW, spectators in the parking lot began throwing beer bottles, snowballs and, at least, one tire from a 1984 Honda Civic, wrapped in a vintage Jack Lambert jersey."
"Akron P.D. were notified and responded, arriving on scene at 22:20 hours. The melee was in full swing by that time and the VFW parking lot violence had spilled over into the Tastee-Freeze parking lot, which is closed for the winter. Back up assistance was called for and arrived in the form of the Akron Fire Dept., which began hosing down the crowd, causing them to cease and desist in their hostilities and subsequently disperse. Unfortunately, due to the severe cold at the time, 38 people had to be treated for frostbite and hypothermia and there were a number of injuries from falls on the ice that formed from the sprayed water."
"Mrs. Harrison continued to be aggressive and had to be Tasered numerous times before arresting officers were able to handcuff her and place her in a patrol car. Two other persons were also transported by officers to the downtown lockup, where they all were arraigned at night court on a charge of assault."
Officials at VFW headquarters in Washington, DC, have notified Mrs. Harrison that she is forthwith suspended from all activities at the Akron VFW until further notice, including holiday events, bingos and their annual Chinese auction fundraiser in January. Said her famous son, "Look, watching football at the VFW is a violent world. I know my mother and I'm sure her emotions just got the better of her. I also know that I was glad I was getting my ass kicked playing football in Cleveland rather than getting my ass kicked by my mother in Akron. They don't call her 'Mildred, the Mauler' for nothing."
Police sources say that when 62-year old Mildred Harrison was being booked into the Akron jail, she defiantly lit up a cigarette, causing one detective to admonish her, "There's no smoking in here." Mrs. Harrison coyly replied, "What are you going to do, arrest me?" and uncrossed her legs, revealing her lack of undergarments and resulting in the spontaneous evacuation of the Akron Public Safety Bldg.