Flyers mascot cleared of claim he punched teenage fan

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              FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, the Philadelphia Flyers' mascot, Gritty, performs during an NHL hockey game in Philadelphia. Philadelphia police said Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he assaulted a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot in November of 2019. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton, File)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he punched a 13-year-old boy in the back after a photo shoot, police said.

Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met the hairy, googly-eyed mascot at a November event for season ticket holders. Brandon patted Gritty on the head after he and his father posed for a photo with him at the Wells Fargo Center, Greenwell has said.

Greenwell said that as Brandon walked away, the person in the Gritty costume ran from his chair and “punched my son as hard as he could.”

Greenwell, who has said he only wanted an apology and something special for his son, filed a complaint with police Dec. 21. But police announced Monday that their investigation determined that “the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault as alleged.”

The Flyers said in a statement that they are pleased that police “concluded there was no merit to the alleged claim.”

“The police department’s statement confirms our thorough internal investigation that found no evidence of the described actions ever having taken place,” the team said.