Report: UP pulled students from post

Marissa Conrad

After months of investigation, University Police has “taken the necessary steps” to discipline two officers accused of using excessive force to control the crowd that rushed Ryan Field after the Oct. 2 football game against Ohio State, police said Thursday.

The officers remain with UP, but discipline matters are “confidential,” said Chief Bruce Lewis of UP.

UP also will work to educate students about acceptable behavior at athletic events, Lewis said.

UP began an internal affairs investigation in October after receiving five formal complaints from students and one Evanston resident that two UP officers had pulled at least one student from a goalpost and dragged at least two students across the field.

NU’s Center for Public Safety conducted a separate review of UP’s stadium security policies and procedures.

The four students who filed complaints said Thursday they were satisfied UP had taken the issue seriously.

After interviews with those who complained and with the two police officers in question, investigators found that the officers did, “to an extent, attempt to remove people from the goalpost,” Lewis said.

The officers were worried that fans climbing on the goalposts might injure themselves, he said.

“Despite having good intentions, it did result in some people being negatively affected,” Lewis said. “In retrospect, it was not the best course of action.”

Education senior David Grossman, who filed a complaint in October, said he was “satisfied” with the two-hour interview he had with UP about two months ago.

After the Oct. 2 game, Grossman said an officer tried to drag him off the field when he yelled at him to let go of Education senior Jeff Wilson. The officer had pulled Wilson from a goalpost, Grossman and several other witnesses said.

Communication senior James Kapner said he got into a “pushing match” with the officer dragging Wilson. Kapner was charged with battery and pled guilty on Oct. 19.

“I didn’t want any ramifications for the police officers,” Grossman said Thursday. “I just wanted the situation to be highlighted and investigated.”

NU’s Center for Public Safety review included interviews with the police departments of other Big Ten universities, said Alexander Weiss, director of the Center for Public Safety.

Four of the 11 Big Ten University police departments have laws or ordinances against spectators entering the field after a game.

Many personnel surveyed could not remember a time when fans had climbed on goalposts.

The center recommend that UP hold firesides about acceptable behavior, Weiss said.

“You want to communicate to the student body that entering onto the field is not an acceptable form of behavior,” he said.

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