Singer Chris Brown denies punching man at Vegas casino

Chris Brown posing at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles. Brown denied on Monday being involved in an altercation at a Las Vegas casino. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Chris Brown posing at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles. Brown denied on Monday being involved in an altercation at a Las Vegas casino. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - R&B star Chris Brown denied on Monday being involved in an altercation at a Las Vegas casino, after police cited him over an accusation that he punched a man during a basketball game.

The singer - who notoriously beat his then girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 - was accused of hitting the unnamed victim during the game at the Palms Casino Resort, police said.

Officers were called to a local hospital in the early hours of Monday where the alleged victim claimed to have been beaten by the recording star, said the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).

"The investigation initiated by the LVMPD Violent Crimes Section indicated the victim had been playing a game of basketball at the Palms Casino Resort," said an LVMPD statement.

"A verbal altercation on the court led to a physical fight and the victim was punched by another male subject who was later identified as 25-year old recording artist Chris Brown.

"The victim prepared to defend himself and was then hit by another male reportedly with Brown."

But Brown's publicist denied the star's involvement.

"Chris is currently in Las Vegas... He has a suite at the hotel that has a basketball court and invited friends to come play. An unruly individual showed up uninvited and was removed from the premises," she said.

"Chris was not in an altercation with this person," added the publicist, Nicole Perna, in a statement.

Police said the victim reported the incident from the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released, and that Brown had left the scene at the hotel by the time detectives arrived.

They said Brown has the option of signing a misdemeanor citation or having the case submitted to the Clark County District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

"The LVMPD has not heard from Mr Brown or his attorney indicating whether or not he would sign the citation," said the statement.

Signing the citation is a promise to appear in court, not an admission of guilt, police said. Likewise, Brown would be summoned to court if the district attorney were to charge him.

Either way, a conviction carries a maximum penalty of a US$1,000 (S$1,332) fine, according to a police spokesman.

In June 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting pop star Rihanna, who suffered facial injuries and was forced to cancel an appearance at that year's Grammy Awards.

Brown, who turns 26 today, was sentenced to five years' probation, a year-long domestic violence programme and 180 days of community labor. His probation was finally lifted in March this year.