UHPD in the right

Officers were correct in making no arrests in fight at UC party

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Senior Staff

Five UH police officers who made no arrests when a fight broke out at a party did exactly the right thing, said UHPD spokesman Lt. Malcolm Davis.

"The action they took was appropriate to what was going on," Davis said.

The fight, which took place in the University Center at about 1 a.m. Dec. 9, resulted in $897 in damages after one combatant threw another through a plate glass window. Witnesses said five officers were present, but they took no action to stop the fight and made no arrests.

"The officers could not identify who was in the fight," Davis said.

One eyewitness claimed he directed officers to arrest some of the combatants, but Davis said the officers present were unable to identify those involved reliably enough to make any arrests.

"If someone comes up to an officer and says, `Arrest that person,' and the officer sees that person not doing anything wrong, then no arrest will be made," he said.

Davis also said the officers were unable to break up the fight because it did not start near them. "The fight did not break out next to anybody. They had to make their way to it, through a crowd that was trying to get away from it," he said.

Davis said the department expects to finish its investigation by early next week. "We know, with one possible exception, who we need to talk to, and not all of them are UH students," he said.

Once a complainant is identified, the Police Department and the Dean of Students Office will consider filing both criminal charges and student life procedures. Because university property was damaged, charges will automatically be filed with the District Attorney's office as soon as the person who broke the window is identified.

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