Bates was booked at the 115th Precinct station house in the borough of Queens for allegedly not paying cab fare. He refused to be fingerprinted and punched a police sergeant in the face above the left eye, police said.
Authorities said the officer received three stitches and suffered a concussion.
Bates is facing a felony charge of assaulting a police officer as well as resisting arrest and theft of service.
“We are aware of the arrest of Trevor Bates earlier today in New York,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said in a statement. “We have not spoken to Trevor as of yet and are still in the process of gathering more information. The Detroit Lions will have no further comment at this time.”
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound backup linebacker was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, authorities said.
Bates appeared in nine games this season with three tackles.
The 25-year-old is in his first season with the Lions.