By Christina Calloway
Police incident reports are beginning to shed light on events that led to the May 2 arrests of 17 Eastern New Mexico University baseball players.
Reports also show confrontations took place between police and university players and coaches when arrests were made in the university field house.
Seventeen ENMU baseball players were arrested on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct stemming from their alleged involvement in fights that took place on April 27, first at a party and then in a school parking lot several hours later.
Two men not on the team were allegedly involved in the altercations, reports show. One of them told police the fight at the party was started after “some guys started grabbing some girls.”
One witness told police she saw a crowd of 20-30 people, a few she recognized as being on ENMU sports teams, arguing with two other men, reports show. The two other men were also arrested.
Video from a dormitory parking lot shows several men damaging a vehicle after the incident at the party.
According to the report, the players’ arrests were made on May 2 in the players’ field house. The report said:
• As officers called names from a list of players they had arrest warrants for, both players and coaches were being argumentative and were refusing to comply with the commands of the officers.
• Coaches were advising players not to cooperate or say anything until the officers produced arrest warrants.
• One player attempted to leave in another direction and when an officer tried to restrain him, the player “lunged” at the officer. The officer had to restrain him and players and coaches alleged the officer choked the player.
• Coaches pulled out their cell phones and recorded the incidents. The coaches also asked if they could see an arrest warrant for the officer involved in the incident with the player for “grabbing the player by the throat.”
According to the report, while the arrests were being made, students made comments about Athletic Director Jeff Geiser “having their backs and bailing them out.”
Geiser said in a Friday interview that he advised the players that neither he nor any of the coaches could post bond for the players because that would violate NCAA rules.
“We didn’t bail them out,” he said.
Each player posted a $1,000 cash or surety bond (10 percent with collateral) soon after the arrests, Roosevelt County jail officials said.
One player told police that Geiser advised them not to talk to anyone about the altercation at the party until after games were played that had playoff implications.
Geiser on Friday denied making the statement, but said he was trying to make make sure players did not escalate the situation.
Geiser allowed players to play after their arrests.
“Part of the reason I reinstated them is because not all the men arrested were involved at the altercation,” Geiser said. “The truth is going to come out eventually.”
Geiser said the situation, “could have been handled better.”
“It’s behind us now, we have just to learn from it and move forward.”