A University Police investigation over the last few weeks concluded that there is no evidence to support allegations that three GW basketball players initiated a fight with Lulu’s Mardi Gras employees earlier this month. Metropolitan Police officials are still investigating the incident.
“UPD has completed our investigation,” UPD chief Dolores Stafford said. “Basically, our findings were that it is not clear how the physical altercation was initiated.”
Stafford said the bar’s employees and basketball players told different versions of the fight. The bar’s bouncers said junior Pops Mensah-Bonsu and sophomores Carl Elliot and J.R. Pinnock assaulted them when they went to break up a fight between the players and other Lulu’s customers.
Men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs has instructed the players not to talk about the incident. Hobbs, who also would not discuss the altercation, has disciplined the players in an unspecified manner.
Stafford said “both parties admitted to throwing punches” but that UPD could not find any evidence to support the bar’s accusations that the players committed a crime.
“The parties became involved in verbal confrontation which escalated into physical conflict,” Stafford said.
UPD’s findings have been forwarded to Student Judicial Services, which never comments on specific cases.
To be considered assault, there must be evidence that the players initiated the fight. Engaging in an unprovoked fight is considered self-defense. Athletics Director Jack Kvancz said he would not comment further on the incident until SJS makes their decision.
MPD Det. Tom Rosenborg said UPD’s findings have no bearing on his investigation.
“I am in contact with the people involved and no warrants have been issued as of now,” he said. “I am still interviewing witnesses. Basically, this is still an ongoing investigation.”
Lulu’s manager Al Chadsey disagreed with the results of UPD’s investigation. Chadsey said he wants MPD to press criminal charges against the players.
“My guys didn’t go in swinging, my guys went into break up the fight these guys had started,” Chadsey said.