ECU Officials Respond To Allegations Of Police Brutality

There's an investigation tonight into what some are calling police brutality at the ECU -West Virginia game last night. The nationally televised game not only captured excited fans storming the field, but law enforcement grabbing, body-slamming and punching fans as they ran by.

Click Here to see the original story with video.

ECU's Chief of Police released the following statement, through ECU's Public Information Officer, John Durham.

East Carolina University officials are investigating complaints of unnecessary force exercised by law enforcement officers as thousands of people stormed the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday to celebrate the Pirates’ win over West Virginia University.

ECU Police Chief Scott Shelton said university officers are interviewing witnesses and analyzing photos and videotapes. The complaints are varied and include assertions that officers punched a fan and threw another to the ground. Shelton said, “Preliminary investigation indicates excessive force was used in an incident of most concern by complainants.”

ECU police are assisted at home football games by officers from a number of jurisdictions, including the City of Greenville, Pitt County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Kinston, and Lenoir County. Shelton said he will meet Monday with Greenville Police Chief Bill Anderson to seek his assistance in the investigation.

Shelton said that at a briefing before the game, all officers were told that if ECU won the game and fans attempted to come onto the field, officers should try to deter them by making themselves visible.

But if that failed, he said, officers were instructed to step back and focus on making sure that those on the field stayed safe.

“Obviously, the safety of the students, fans and athletes at the game is our first concern,” Shelton said. “It is simply unacceptable that anyone at a game is the victim of excessive force.”

Shelton said he hopes to have at least a preliminary report on the complaints within a day or two.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Melvin on Sep 18, 2008 at 08:58 PM
    Did anyone see CU storm the field? The difference I didn't see any cops beating students up
  • by Joe Location: Greenville on Sep 15, 2008 at 02:27 PM
    Plain and simple, Imagine for a second that was your son getting slammed to the ground why everyone else ran by! They had a "reason" to bully a teenager and took full advantage of it. They should all be looking for another way to make their mortgage payment next month!
  • by skizzle Location: gvegas on Sep 13, 2008 at 06:54 AM
    An official needs to resign. A cop or two needs to be fired. Pirates need to keep winning.....and we rush the field at the end of the season! Hug an officer at that point while chanting ECU! ECU! ECU!
  • by Talon Location: NC on Sep 11, 2008 at 02:16 PM
    Joe don't confuse the department with the brass. The line officers are sick over this. I've heard that during the briefing instructions were given to detain the first ones over then fence to see if it would stop the rest. IF that's true, and it probably is, then Lenoir County was following orders. Normally Major Frank Knight gives the briefings and if he gave those instructions then he needs to step forward and clear this up. Anyway, just try to remember that it's not the line cops or even all the brass, it's just a few. Most of the cops there know that they will work alone the rest of the season. They just don't want their working relationship with the other agencies hurt.
  • by Joe Location: Greenville on Sep 11, 2008 at 01:13 PM
    Everyone needs to be careful with their words and thoughts. I can tell you the ECU police dept is trying to cover their six. I am confident, things changed rapidly and maybe all decisions were not conveyed to everyone as needed. It is hard to win the game if you do not know the rules.
  • by EC10RET Location: NC on Sep 11, 2008 at 11:57 AM
    To Brother In Blue: Last thing we need to do is start turning on each other now. I agree he could have chosen his words better, but I imagine he's trying to keep the Chancellor (who's apparently already decided the the cops are guilty of something) pacified and off the back of Lt. Hayes, who's trying to do a fair investigation. I can well imagine what the Chief is going through trying to keep ECU administrators from jumping the gun. This brings up the basic problem that the ECU Police Dept. has faced for several years and that is the CONSTANT interference and meddling that the ECU Admin inflicts on the PD management. You can't believe it if you haven't seen it. Internal politics at ECU are worse than any small town in NC. Here's a minor example: Guess who decides whether or not fans can storm the field? It's the Athletic Dept NOT the P.D. Guess when that decision is made for each game? TWO MINUTES before the game is over. Shelton's doing the best he can, I promise you.
  • by Brother in Blue on Sep 11, 2008 at 10:25 AM
    I think everyone who is against the officers should get a chance to see how it is in a riot situation on the street! When you get put in a situation that you cant control, I promise you that you will change your mind! It's obvious that the Chief of ECU is coward, its a shame how he hung his fellow officers out to dry like he did! Instead of trying to disclaim his department of any wrong doing, he should've stressed how the fans were wrong for trespassing and resisting the officers!I think that the officers handled the situation well, and any normal person with police experience would agree. Good job thin blue!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 10, 2008 at 11:20 PM
    I think that the SBI needs to look into incidents with the ECU police because this is just one incident that has happen with these officials. They are getting away with to much. Trust me I know because I have had a incident with them and I did make a complaint but nothing was done. In my opinion they were using to much force as what I seen on the video, I understand that they are doing their job but they also need to handle it professionally not like gansters in the streets.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 10, 2008 at 06:12 PM
    To T, I'd have to say that around 99.9% of the football games I have seen in person and on TV did NOT end up with fans rushing the field. It's NOT common practice, unless the teams are not used to winning and the fans just go nuts when the unthinkable happens. ECU is NOT a losing team. The fans rushing the field demeaned and insulted the ECU football team and coaching staff. Yes, the team was considered an underdog, but of all people the fans should have had faith in the players and not acted like it was a miracle that they won. It showed NO class and it was THE cause of all this controversy. Those same cops have worked many games with no problems. The fools that rushed the field precipitated this incident, not the cops. The deputies reacted as best they could and were put in a no win situation.
  • by amazed Location: enc on Sep 10, 2008 at 05:23 PM
    I must say that I watched the game and saw the interview by an espn reporter of Coach Holtz on the field and I couldn't believe what I saw. I saw a college aged person push a NC HWY Patrol officer there to protect the coach. The officer was pushed/shoved several times and I couldn't believe how disrespectful that was. I would have easily considered it assault of an officer! And that was live right after the game. Its really shameful that people can't behave like people. This is pathetic and makes ECU look bad.
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