04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
Country singer Tim McGraw, 33, has finally given his side of the story in what supposedly happened when he jumped into a skirmish between New York state police and fellow performer Kenny Chesney on June 3. Both men were arrested after a concert in Orchard Park, N.Y., when Chesney allegedly rode off on a police horse -- without the permission of the cops, though Chesney disputes that claim. McGraw attacked officers who were trying to stop Chesney, said police, who charged McGraw with a felony count of second degree assault. In a statement released Thursday, McGraw claimed he made his move when he officers attempting to "rip (Chesney) from the horse" after Chesney had already surrendered. "At no time did I throw any punches or put anyone in anything remotely resembling a choke hold," McGraw said. "One of the officers pulled his nightstick and hit me at least three times on my leg." He also said that his children (with wife Faith Hill) were playing nearby and that he feared for their safety. A court hearing is scheduled for July 18.