No charges for officer after run-in with fan at Ole Miss game

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 3:18 PM

By Therese Apel

JACKSON, Miss. (Reuters) - A security officer who drew scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after an altercation with a fan at a University of Mississippi football game last month will not face charges, his lawyer said.

Off-duty police officer Brock White was working security for the Nov. 21 matchup against Louisiana State University in Oxford, Mississippi when he was seen on video punching fan Chris Barnes in the face during an arrest, according to Ole Miss officials.

The video went viral and the university requested an independent investigation by the FBI after Barnes' wife released a photo showing injuries to his face.

But White's lawyer, Tony Farese, said most of Barnes' injuries resulted from a fight after he was jailed and were not caused by White.

Video from the surveillance system at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium provided a more complete view of the altercation between Barnes and White than the video taken by fans at the game, and jail video filled out the rest of the story, Farese said.

Farese said the FBI presented the results of its probe to the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday, and no action would be taken against his client.

The FBI, university police and New Albany Police Department did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.

Barnes is charged with felony assault, public intoxication, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. His attorney, David Poole, said he had not seen the results of the FBI investigation.

“Our position is that Mr. Barnes is not guilty of the charges," Poole said. "If the arrest was unlawful, and we hope to prove that it was, then the force that was used against him was wrong.”

White has been on leave from the nearby New Albany Police Department during the investigation.

“We anticipate his return to work pretty soon," Farese said.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins)