NYPD denies giving Crowe special treatment. Despite the actor's on-air claims, police say they handled the star's arrest and detention by the book

Even as Russell Crowe was apologizing on air for hitting a hotel concierge in the face with a hurled phone, he boasted to David Letterman’s audience that he used his connections to get the New York Police Department to smooth his trip through the criminal justice system after his arrest Monday morning. But while Crowe’s wait for an arraignment was unusually brief, police reps are denying that the Oscar-winning star got any special treatment. ”We can’t help it if someone is boasting they did something,” Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown told the New York Daily News. ”But the only different treatment Russell Crowe got was a police escort to the courthouse — and that was for protection.”

”I’ve got some friends in this town,” Crowe said during his Late Show appearance on Wednesday. ”People like Tommy Cronin at the NYPD made a few calls and, you know, just simplified things.” Cronin is an officer with the NYPD’s film and TV unit, but a police official who spoke to the New York Post said, ”Even if his friend tried to make a call, the most he could get [Crowe] is a can of soda and bag of potato chips in his cell.” Still, while most suspects can spend anywhere from 17 to 36 hours behind bars awaiting arraignment, Crowe was out in less than eight. Nonetheless, Browne said, ”There is no investigation” into Crowe’s claim.

Crowe has apologized on several talk shows, including CBS’ Late Show, MSNBC’s Hardball, and NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, for the incident, sparked by his inability to place a call to his wife in Australia on the phone in his room at the upscale Mercer Hotel in Manhattan. The Cinderella Man star has cited jet lag, loneliness, and his well-documented anger-management issues for the tantrum that led to his arrest on charges of assault and possession of a weapon (the fateful phone). He’s due back in court in September and faces up to seven years in prison.