Three charged, officer suspended following assault that ended on ECU campus
Posted March 24, 2016
Greenville, N.C. — Three people, including an East Carolina University student, have been charged in a St. Patrick's Day assault that started outside a Greenville bar and ended up on the school's campus, authorities said Thursday.
An ECU police officer who responded to the incident has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation after he handcuffed the victim, authorities said.
"We are appalled by the brutality of the incident. We'll have zero tolerance for allowing these kinds of things on our campus," ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said. "It's not ECU. It's not who we are. It's not who we are as people. It does not reflect any of our values."
Police said the incident started outside Club 519 on Cotanche Street when Patrick Myrick, 26, struck a woman in the face, knocking her to the ground. Several of the woman's friends confronted Myrick nearby and assaulted him, police said.
Myrick was able to get away, but the group chased him onto the ECU campus, where they assaulted him a second time, police said.
Arrest warrants state that Myrick, who isn't affiliated with ECU, was repeatedly kicked in the head and suffered a broken nose, bleeding in his right eye – both eyes were swollen shut – and cut and swollen lips. He was treated at Vidant Medical Center and released.
Theresa Lee, 25, Mack Humbles, 26, and Mark Privette, 33, have been charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and police are looking for a third man in the case.
Ballard didn't identify which of the three is a student, but he said the person's enrollment was suspended Thursday as administrators conduct disciplinary procedures.
"We have to take ownership of this horrible incident. We don't want any more of these to ever happen at ECU," Ballard said.
ECU Police Chief Gerald Lewis said the assault was over by the time the first campus officer arrived at the scene, but he is concerned whether department policies and procedures were followed. He didn't identify the officer involved.
Ballard said video of the officer's role in the case would be released once the investigation is complete.
No campus safety alert was issued because the incident had ended and there was no threat to others on campus, officials said.
Myrick is black, and the three people charged in the case are white, but Ballard said it's too early to determine if race played a role in the incident.
"I'm very concerned that race could have been a factor, but I'm not going to make conclusions on that until all of the information is in from the investigation," he said. "Several white people chased a black person, and that certainly gives us reason to ask a lot of questions."
Greenville police said Myrick hasn't been charged because the assault outside the bar was a misdemeanor and didn't happen in their presence. The woman who was knocked to the ground told police that she would seek charges against Myrick.