Local News

SBI files report on police force at ECU football game

Posted November 14, 2008 7:04 a.m. EST
Updated November 14, 2008 10:10 a.m. EST

— Prosecutors say the State Bureau of Investigation has started to deliver a report on the confrontations between law enforcement officers and some East Carolina University football fans earlier this season.

District Attorney Clark Everett told the Greenville Daily Reflector that he received the first portion of the SBI's investigative report Wednesday.

Fans rushed the field Sept. 6 after the Pirates defeated then-No. 8 West Virginia 24-3. Video showed fans being knocked to the ground by some officers and the university received complaints about police brutality on the field.

Lenoir County Sheriff Billy Smith cleared one of his deputies of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation. The unidentified deputy was seen on a video beating a fan, but Smith said the use of force was justified because the deputy was assisting other officers who were trying to restrain the fan.

In addition to Lenoir County deputies, ECU police were assisted at the game by officers from the Greenville, Winterville and Kinston police departments and by sheriff's deputies from Pitt County.

ECU officials said they would no longer use officers from law enforcement agencies outside Pitt County to provide security at games.

Everett said it will likely be weeks before he can draw any conclusions from the SBI's work.