MPD report contradicts student account

Metropolitan and University Police reports paint a different picture of an incident that sent Sigma Alpha Epsilon member John Shannon to the GW Hospital early morning Aug. 31.

Although the student, who was unnamed in an earlier article, had said an officer initiated contact with him, incident reports from MPD and UPD indicate Shannon struck the officer in the left shoulder as he blocked the doorway to the fraternity house.

MPD officials were unavailable for comment in an earlier report.

UPD Director Dolores Stafford said at least one UPD officer who witnessed the incident at about 4 a.m. saw Shannon hit the officer before the student was arrested and charged with assault on an officer.

An MPD report from the incident confirms the witness’s account.

Shannon could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Andrew Hopkins failed to return repeated phone calls.

Shannon’s charges were reduced from felony assault on an officer to simple assault in an arraignment Friday. The lesser charge carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine or both. The maximum penalty for felony assault on an officer carries a maximum of five years in jail or a $5,000 fine or both.

MPD Cmdr. Pete Newshaw said assault on an officer is normally reduced to simple assault if the officer sustains minor or no injuries. He said the officer who arrested Shannon did not sustain any injuries.

Newshaw said MPD officers knocked on the door of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at 2034 G St. early Friday morning in response to a call about a “hit-and-run” in the area. He said officers asked to enter the house without a warrant because they were looking for a suspect involved in the hit-and-run.

“We need a warrant to enter a location unless we’re invited,” Newsham said. “We did not have a warrant to go in there.”

Newshaw said Wednesday afternoon that he had no complaint from the student involved about police misconduct on file. Shannon suffered a fractured index finger and scrapes on his chin from the altercation with the officer.

“If there’s a person out there, most likely the suspect in this case who feel there was inappropriate conduct by a police office, they are more than welcome to come by the 2nd District (headquarters) and file a complaint, and we will do a complete investigation,” he said.

A complete investigation includes taking a sworn statement from the complainant, Newsham added.

Shannon’s trial for misdemeanor simple assault charges is set for Oct. 23.

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