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UPDATE: Questions Surface About West Liberty Arrests in Hotel Incident

By: Rahel Solomon, The Associated Press Email
By: Rahel Solomon, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 3/4/13 @ 7:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Questions are being raised about the Charleston Police Department’s response to a West Liberty basketball game after party.

Monday afternoon, police said physical force and pepper spray had to be used on four party goers after some people became violent Saturday night.

“Some of the individuals in the crowd became belligerent and angry that the police had arrived, so they expressed that by cursing and becoming threatening toward the police,” Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said.

Hundreds gathered at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston to celebrate West Liberty’s third straight championship win.
After hotel guests started complaining about noise, Charleston Police were dispatched. And after observing the size of the crowd, backup officers were called. In total, 20 officers showed up.

Four people were arrested in all. Athletic Director James Watson was charged with obstructing an officer and battery of an officer. Watson's son, Brian, was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and obstructing an officer. Football player Tyler Tucci and volleyball player Gabrielle Davis were both charged with obstruction.

West Liberty President Robin C. Capehart released a statement Sunday in support of athletic director Watson, in part saying: “I personally fully support Jim … Based on the account of more than two dozen witnesses to whom I’ve spoken, we look forward to the judicial process in regard to this matter.”

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones released a statement Monday morning saying: "After reading the police reports about the incident, including the accounts of several independent eyewitnesses, I stand completely behind the Charleston police department."

The Professional Standards Division of the Police Department is currently investigating the incident. The investigation is standard procedure whenever an officer uses force.

The four suspects who were arrested spent Saturday evening in jail and posted bond Sunday.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/3/13
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Liberty University athletic director James Watson and three others are facing misdemeanor charges following a disturbance at a Charleston hotel.

Charleston police tell media outlets that the incident occurred Saturday night after West Liberty won its third straight championship at the West Virginia Conference men's basketball tournament in Charleston.

The 66-year-old Watson is charged with obstructing an officer and battery of an officer. His 28-year-old son, Brian Watson of Wheeling, is charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and obstructing an officer.

Twenty-two-year-old Tyler Tucci and 21-year-old Gabrielle Davis are both charged with obstructing. According to the school's website, Tucci is a football player and Davis is a volleyball player.

West Liberty President Robin C. Capehart says in a statement that he and the university fully support James Watson.


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