The Candor

Student charged with battery of BenU police officer

 

BenU student Nate Green

By Taylor Hoppe

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

A male BenU student was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and battery to an officer after refusing to comply with a BenU officer’s request to pour out a cup believed to contain alcohol on Nov. 20, according to Benedictine University Police Chief Michael Salatino.

Associate Vice President of Student Life, Marco Masini, would not state if the student, identified as Nate Green, had been suspended from the university, but explained that, “When such actions occur a student would be suspended.”

“Sanctions may result from a dismissal to a probationary period,” added Masini. “We’re still investigating the incident.”

Salatino reported that, “at 12:15 a.m., [two] University Police officers were patrolling the courtyard of Founders’ Woods, performing alcohol enforcement. They came across a male student who appeared to have a red party cup in his hand. Two other individuals were stopped simultaneously.”

Salatino said problems began when one of the students did not comply with the officer’s request to pour out their alcohol. The student allegedly refused to comply with the officer’s request to stop again and attempted to walk past the officer.

Police said the student then initiated physical contact towards Officer Sharon Rizzi. “She was [punched] in the lower lip,” reported Salatino.

In a statement Green gave to Masini and The Candor, he reports telling the female officer the cup contained fruit punch. “Officer Rizzi said ‘Hey’ and [grabbed] my wrist,” Green explained in the statement. “At this point she [knocked] the drink out of my hand.”

“The whole situation was blown way out of proportion,” Green stated.

Salatino explained that Green violated the University Drug and Alcohol Policy by having open alcohol outside of a residence and also violated the Student Code of Conduct, which states that students must follow the directions of a staff member.

Reports from other students differ from the BenU police account of the night.

According to David Bernard, who was with Green that night, “[Green] never punched [Officer Rizzi]. [He] never elbowed her, never struck any of the officers.”

Witnesses to the event say the situation got chaotic once contact was made between the female officer and Green.

“When Officer Rizzi grabbed [Green], I remember him saying ‘don’t touch me’ and pulling his arm back,” said junior Kaitlin Walsh, who saw the incident from a balcony in Thomas Hall. “Things escalated when [Rizzi] grabbed his arm again. It looked like she was trying to force him to dump the cup out.”

“The officers attempted to affect an arrest and the student resisted. With the student still failing to comply, a third officer was called and the subject was then handcuffed,” Salatino stated. After that, Salatino said the student was taken to the University Police station for processing.

“I [asked] both officers to stop because I [didn’t] understand what was going on,” Green stated in his statement. Green explained it was for this reason he stood back up when the officers got him on the ground.

Green stated that when he stood back up, he heard the female officer say, “I was hit in the mouth.”

“We’re investigating [Green’s] statement as well as the witness’s statements further,” said Masini on how administration will determine what facts are accurate. “Once those are collected and reviewed, we will make our best judgment.”

Green, a member of the basketball team, will not be allowed to play while the investigation is ongoing.

“[Green is] suspended [from basketball] until all of the facts are gathered. Once those are gathered, Residence Life and [Masini] will make a decision on his status as far as school is concerned,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics Keith Bunkenburg.

Contributions were made to this story by Sports Editor Luke Stanczyk.