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Dance ends in three arrests prompting safety policy

By Carol Franch

Three non-UNCP men from outside Pembroke were arrested Sept. 28 after a midnight fight in the Jones Athletic complex auxiliary gym.            

The fight broke out at a dance after the Black and Gold pageant. Five campus police officers dispersed the crowd with pepper spray.

An officer was hit in the face, according to David Helton, chief of police and public safety.            

Police identified the men arrested as Domminoeau Brown, 20, Whiteville; Reshaud Graham, 23, Raeford; and Brandon Tillman, 21, Raeford. They were charged with disorderly conduct for fighting.

“No one checked IDs so it was possible for anyone to enter the dance,” said Lauren Allen, a section editor for The Pine Needle.

The dance had been going on for about 10 minutes before the fight began, she said.

“Everyone cleared away making a big circle around the two fighting,” Allen said. “I only saw two people fighting.”            

Allen said she saw police officers take two men who had been fighting outside. After that, there were no police officers in the gym, she reported.

Allen said she saw a police officer help carry a girl after the spraying.            

Allen also reported that Katrina Roberts, a junior biology major, who is asthmatic, suffered difficulty breathing and fell to the floor in the hallway outside the gym. A nursing student stopped to help Roberts, said Allen, who retrieved Trina’s inhaler.

Students carried Corey Locklear, a junior music major, from the gym and placed him in the hallway next to Roberts. Allen summoned a police officer to assist Locklear.            
Several students complained to The Pine Needle there was no advance warning from the police before the pepper spraying.

Those students included freshmen Tasha Singh and Galissia Graves, sophomore Fridah Muriithi and junior C.J. Reid.

Chief Helton said campus police handled the situation well. He noted that pepper spray has been used before.            

“Anytime we have a large crowd involved in a fight and we are able to gain control of the incident without any injuries, that’s a job well done,” campus police detective Ed Locklear said.     

“I believe that we have the best group of law enforcement officers in the state working on campus. I’m very confident that procedure was carried out to the tee.”

Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for student affairs, presented proposals to SGA to help with safety at dances.

Some ideas include registering outside guests from other universities 24 hours in advance and assuring dancers have valid identification cards.            

Homecoming would allow for outside guests who do not have other university I.D.  

The SGA is scheduled to vote on the proposed policy at their meeting Oct. 18.

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Updated: Friday, October 20, 2006
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