Kilgore College PD Investigation of Incident - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kilgore College PD Investigation of Incident

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From the Kilgore College Police Department:


In this review, I will examine three aspects of what occurred following the basketball
game on February 23, 2013. This will include what happened at the conclusion of the game,
contributing factors that led up to this incident, and things that can be improved upon to prevent this from happening again.

Summary of After Game Incidents:
At the conclusion of the basketball game, Kilgore College (KC) fans and players gathered
at center court and began celebrating the victory over Navarro College (NC). This upset the
players, fans, and staff of Navarro College. The KC basketball players had left the floor and then several of the NC players exited the visiting team locker room and began coming out of the tunnel towards court side. These players were visibly angry, they had their jerseys off, and were heard making threats; they were looking for a fight.

The NC players were being restrained the first time they tried to come out by fans, other
players, and at least one NC coach. A KCPD Officer went towards them and began ordering
them back into the locker room area. As these players were headed back in, an assistant manager from NC began blowing a whistle repeatedly. This brought the players back out a second time almost as if this was a preplanned signal. The KCPD Officer began physically pushing players back into the hallway and then used Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray on the subjects when they came towards him making threats. A second KCPD Officer responded and upon seeing what was taking place he also sprayed OC towards these subjects.

After the NC players were sprayed with OC, the gym was cleared and there were no further problems. The KC athletic trainer assisted in treating NC players who had received direct applications of the OC. Officers and staff secured the area around the NC busses so they would be able to leave safely and there were no other incidents.

Contributing Factors/ Investigative Summary:
As a part of this investigation, I have solicited and received many statements and emails regarding what took place at the game. These statements are polarized in view, a KC VS. NC if
you will. I have tried to glean from the consistencies reported from witnesses and overlaps of
information provided by either side of the issue. The end result may be that each person will
have to stand in Court and provide testimony as to what occurred.

Prior to the basketball game, the KC athletic director contacted KCPD and told them that
they needed to put on additional officers during the basketball game because NC was bringing
two fan busses and there could be problems. The KCPD Lieutenant who arranges all security
details assigned himself, and three other KCPD Officers to work the game. The Officers were
assigned stations at the perimeter of the gym.

During the game, a female NC employee who was watching the game became very upset because she believed that KC students were using profanity towards the NC players. This person went to a KCPD Officer who was stationed in the south west corner of the gym and complained to him about it. The KCPD Officer said he radioed another KCPD Officer with this information.

The other Officer said he went and spoke to the KC students and told them they would not be
allowed to use profanity. This account was verified by other witnesses.

Of all the statements I have received, I had only one KC employee who said he heard
cussing coming from the KC students which was during the first portion of the game. I had
several other KC employees who were sitting close to these students say they did not hear
profanity being used by KC fans and neither did the officers. There were no fouls called by the
game officials for this, so apparently they did not hear it either. What was heard was taunting
taking place by our students, they were calling out the names of NC players and making
comments during the game.

The female NC employee went to the KCPD Officer multiple times to complain about
our students. This was verified by the Officer and she can be seen doing so on the game video.

The Officer said she was very agitated and after he had relayed this information to the otherOfficer he told the NC employee it had been addressed and there was nothing more he could do about it. The Officer was on the same side of the gym as the NC employee and said he did not hear them using profanity.

Towards the end of the game the female NC employee became angry again and began
shouting profanity towards a KC employee who was at the scorer's table. According to the KC
employee she yelled, "That's b--- s---" and "You need to do something about this b--- s---." At
this time, the NC employee was sitting in the floor bleachers behind the scorer's table near the
entrance to the locker room area and on the side nearest the NC player's bench.

The KC employee could not leave the table and just raised his arms in a manner to let her know he could not get up. The KC employee said he then motioned for his supervisor to come to his location.The supervisor was sitting in the floor bleachers on the side where the KC players' bench was located.

The supervisor said he went to the KC employee at the scorer's table to find out what was taking place and then went back to his seat. The NC employee came out of her seat and went over to where the KC supervisor was seated and according to witnesses she began ranting and yelling at the KC supervisor. The video shows she was very animated waving her arms and pointing.

Witnesses said she yelled, "You need to do something about this G-- d----- game."

The KC supervisor and others told her she needed to watch her language because there were
children there and she yelled, "This is f------ b--- s---." The people sitting in this area told her
she needed to leave. In the video, people are seen trying to wave her off. The NC employee went back to her seat and continued yelling and then other NC fans joined in. The NC employee was inciting people in the crowd who were becoming angry at this time.

At the conclusion of the game, both teams lined up in front of the scorer's table to walk
past each other and shake hands. There were obviously hard feelings because the video shows that not all of the NC players shook hands as they passed.

Several KC fans/students went to the center court area of the gym to celebrate the win.

This at first included some KC basketball players. The KC coaching staff directed all of the KC
players off of the court and into the locker room. During this time, the KCPD officers along with
KC athletic personnel and staff moved to the court area to monitor the situation.

The female NC employee is seen in the video coming down out of the bleachers, getting
one of the NC Assistant Coach's attention and then telling him something. The NC Assistant
Coach waived a KC Assistant Coach over to the scorer's table. According to the KC Assistant
Coach, the NC Assistant Coach leaned over and told him, "That's classless," referring to the
celebration taking place. Witnesses said the NC Assistant Coach then began pacing back and
forth using profanity.

The female NC employee had moved down towards the south west corner of the gym at
this time. Some KC students had moved across the court and approached the area where the NC bench had been and were making comments such as, "Football is next."

KC officers and athletic staff then moved in and tried to direct these individuals back across the court.

At this point, the NC players began coming out of the tunnel that led to the locker room. They had taken off their jerseys and both witnesses and officers said they appeared very angry and wanting to fight. According to witnesses, these players were being restrained by other players and fans. The coaches and athletic director, except for one Assistant Coach, had already exited and gone back towards the locker rooms. A KCPD Officer said one large player had pressed a woman who was holding a baby against the scorer's table and he had to be pulled off by  another player. Another KCPD Officer responded to this area and began giving commands for the players to go back to their locker room.

The NC players started to go back into their dressing room when the NC assistant
manager began repeatedly blowing a whistle. When the NC players heard the whistle blowing,
they again started coming out of the locker room area. It almost appears that the whistle being
blown was a signal that there was something wrong and this prompted the NC players and
coaches to come out of the locker room for the second time.

A NC Assistant Coach said in his statement, "there was a whistle that was being blown. My first thought was my mom and Coach Estelle's family as well as our students and other faculty members being in some sort of situation."

Witnesses who were located near the tunnel entrance said the NC players were yelling
threats and wanted to fight. These individuals made comments such as, "beat the ---- out of
them," "kick their ------- asses," "I'm going to beat their asses," and "let me at the ------ -------." One witness said a very large NC player went up to a young boy on the floor and yelled at him, "You want to fight this?"

NC players were coming out of both the central tunnel area as well as the east end doors of the visiting team's locker room. Two witnesses provided a diagram of what they saw. The diagram shows that the NC players had exited the locker room, came back out to the scorer's table area and were directed back by the officer. They also show in the diagram that they were sitting in the same spot as the female NC employee referenced above but they do not mention what she had done or said.

During this same time, the after-game video was filming the southwest corner of the gym.
When the NC players were coming out of the gym, the video shows the group on the floor surge towards this area. A KCPD Officer moved out and began directing people off of the court.

He had to put his hand to the shoulder of one individual and physically direct him away from the
area. The Officer felt like a large fight was about to happen and he removed his ASP baton from
its holster and had it in his right hand (un-opened). I could see KC football coaches on the floor
and other staff directing people off of the floor. I saw a KC Football Coach had to literally push a student across the floor to get him out of the area. A witness stated that the student was making hand gestures that were believed to be gang signs. The same witness who saw this said the very large NC player was throwing signs back at the KC student.

During this same time, a KC housing employee had gone to where the aforementioned
female NC employee was and began telling her she needed to get her students and exit the gym. Another Navarro employee came up to the KC employee at this time and told him he did not know who he was talking to and he needed to get out of it. The female NC employee can be seen at this time bringing both hands up in a motion like she is making an obscene gesture (commonly referred to as flipping the birds) at the KC housing employee and/or subjects on the gym floor.

Other witnesses said they saw the NC employee flipping the bird during the game.

A KCPD Officer had already responded to the tunnel/hallway that leads back to the visiting team locker room and was giving orders for them to get back in the locker room; he was physically pushing the players back as well. At this time two NC coaches were in the locker
room changing clothes according to their statements. Another NC Assistant Coach said he was
also in the locker room changing but witnesses state he was still outside with the NC players
when this occurred.

The KCPD Officer said he was trying to get the players back into their locker room when
a NC Assistant Coach came up behind him loudly using profanity towards him which seemed to
inflame the situation. The Assistant Coach then got between the KCPD Officer and these players but was not doing anything to get the players back in the locker room.

The KCPD Officer said one of the players made the comment, "You wanna' go at it then let's go." At this time, the KCPD Officer began spraying the OC at these individuals. This occurred in the hallway adjacent to the locker room, not in the locker room. A second KCPD Officer had heard the commotion and responded to this area. He saw the confrontational situation and also sprayed OC at these individuals. The two NC Coaches who were in the locker room said they came out at this time and they were affected by the spray.

The KCPD Officer who first deployed the OC was himself overcome by the effects of the
aerosolized OC and had to exit the area.

A NC Assistant Coach came out of the locker room and began demanding that someone
call the "real police" because he wanted to file a complaint. A KCPD Officer spoke to both NC
Assistant Coaches who wrote out a compliant on the back of a piece of paper from the scorer's
table.

KC athletic trainer availed himself to the NC staff and players. He washed out the eyes of
those who requested it and provided a foaming spray to help cool off the OC that was on some of their skin.

The situation inside the gym quickly deescalated after the use of the OC. This prompted
people to leave the gym more quickly. A KCPD Officer had positioned herself outside near the
NC busses to ensure the safety of persons getting on busses. There were some KC students on Elder Street that were yelling in the direction of the NC fans and the NC fans were yelling back.

The Officer does not remember whether they were using profanity or not as it was loud and
chaotic. The Officer recognized one of the KC students. The Officer worked on getting the NC
fans on their bus as well as ordering KC students to leave. The Officer said the bus driver
became frustrated with the NC fans and yelled out, "If you are riding the fan bus, get on now
before I leave" which prompted them to board and leave.

There have been allegations that a KCPD Officer chased the NC players into the locker
room when he sprayed them. This may just be a perceptual issue of what constitutes a locker

room versus a hallway. The visiting locker room area and showers are adjacent to a hallway that runs from the central tunnel area to an east doorway that leads out to the front entrance/exit of the gym. I went and examined the area where this took place; I saw the remnant of OC on the door jamb of the west end door that leads from the hall into the locker room but found no evidence that it had been sprayed inside the locker room.

Areas for Improvement:
We cannot control the preexisting attitudes or emotions of individuals who are coming to our athletic events. I believe we can do a better job of reigning in some of the factors that contributed to this incident however.

We have removed disruptive fans from games in the past and barred them from returning
to games. None of the officers heard the obscene, profane language used by the NC
employee during this or it would have been addressed. When she began cussing at KC
employees and others in the stands, someone should have contacted one of the officers
immediately so she could be removed from the game. She committed the act of
Disorderly Conduct and, at the least, could have been removed from the gym. At most,
she could have been cited or arrested for this offense. Her removal may have deescalated
what took place later. This would follow suit for anyone who exhibits this type of
behavior.

The non-basketball coaching staff who were in the gym were sitting up in the high seats
behind the football players during the game. It would be better if they were sitting close
to them so they can monitor their behavior and address issues as they occur.

When we have large athletic events that are of the high rival nature, we will put on additional police officers to help with security. This will include off duty Kilgore P.D. officers to supplement KCPD staff.

While we keep our fans and staff in check, there is a reasonable expectation that visiting
teams do the same. There were enough witnesses that saw the behavior being exhibited
by the NC employee that one would expect the NC staff would have done something
about it rather than letting it continue.

We need to install cameras in the gym to serve as witness.