Local News

ECU student arrested after snowball fight

Posted January 22, 2009 11:21 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Campus police arrested an East Carolina University student following a snowball fight involving more than 200 students, officials said.

Freshman Steven Rashad Bass hit a campus police officer with a chunk of ice, ECU spokesman John Durham said. He was charged with assault on a public official and resisting arrest.

A video posted on YouTube.com shows an officer chasing a student across campus, tackling him and restraining him on the snowy ground.

"They, like, threw him on the ground, and I couldn't believe it," sophomore Adrianne Charleston said.

It was unclear whether Bass faces any school disciplinary action.

Pepper spray was used to disperse several students who approached officers after Bass was arrested, Durham said. No injuries were reported.

"I think (pepper-spraying) anybody is kind of extreme when it's a good, clean snowball fight," freshman Ethan Vick said.

An estimated 200 to 250 students participated in the snowball fight, and campus police were called to the area three times to control the activity, Durham said.

"There were reports of, in addition to snowballs, throwing pieces of fruit (and) chunks of ice," he said. "The university cannot condone activities like that."

Some students threw snowballs at passing cars or opened car doors and threw snowballs at occupants inside, he said.

"The kids shouldn't have been throwing snowballs at cars, and it got really out of hand when they started opening car doors and throwing the snow inside, because that can be really dangerous," sophomore Keira Masters said.

ECU hasn't issued any statements to students about the incident and doesn't plan to review the officers' response to it, Durham said.

"Students should have known better," he said, adding that officials felt the police action was justified.

The incident marked the second run-in between ECU students and law enforcement officers in recent months.

Football fans rushed the field Sept. 6 after the Pirates defeated then-No. 8 West Virginia 24-3. Video showed some officers knocking fans to the ground.

A Lenoir County deputy seen beating a fan on the ground was cleared of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation, and Pitt County prosecutors haven't filed any charges in the case.