No, the picture above is not the way officers dressed at the ECU game, but judging by the reaction of some, you can bet they wish they were.
Well, maybe the officers assigned to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium were celebrating. It's just that they have a different way of expressing the joy of East Carolina's big 24-3 win over West Virginia. The fans wanted to, and did, rush the field and the police dealt with people (watch the lower right corner).
There were plenty of reports from fans, witnesses and those pesky ESPN cameras to suggest this was not isolated.
ECU Police Chief Scott Shelton said university officers are interviewing witnesses and analyzing photos and videotapes. The complaints are varied and include assertions that officers punched a fan and threw another to the ground. Shelton said, "Preliminary investigation indicates excessive force was used in an incident of most concern by complainants."The police chief also says that the officers were supposed to only be visible and try to deter fans and students from running out on the field. If that didn't work, they were supposed to fall back and just try to keep it from getting out of hand. Officers from the State Highway Patrol, City of Greenville, Pitt County Sheriff's Department, the City of Kinston, and Lenoir County were also helping with security.
As for the officers that were shown beating a person on the ground. It's denials all around.
Pitt County Sheriff Mac Manning said that though his deputies were staffing the game in brown uniforms, it was not one of his men caught on tape.Of course not. It was a different shade of brown. Or perhaps it was someone dressed as a Pitt County officer trying to make them look bad.
"As far as what happened, or if there was excessive force used, I have no idea," Manning said. "My supervisor at the game saw the video, and what he had seen did not involve a Pitt County deputy."
Some more videos after the jump.
This video shows the cops being very forceful in trying to keep fans from the field as the goalposts were being removed.It was to little avail, and most of the cops there backed off to just standing by the goalposts.
This one is too far away but you can here the fans and students talking about the cops on the field.
It's a good chance that more pictures and video will be popping up. The volume of cameras and camera phones makes that increasingly likely.