More than a week after the violent Halloween beating on Elm Street that left a 19-year-old man hospitalized, police won’t confirm whether any of the alleged attackers have been identified or arrested.
Two students who witnessed the violent beating said they were able to take photos and a video of the incident, which they claim they turned over to the Ann Arbor Police Department as evidence.
LSA seniors Brian Barton and Zachary Ward said they took pictures of brutal beating on Barton’s digital camera shortly before the attack, then a video once it began. After giving a statement to AAPD, Barton said he handed over his memory stick to be used as possible evidence.
The next day, Barton said he received a call from an AAPD officer who had been in possession of his memory card telling him that the memory card had been lost before police had viewed it.
Barton and Ward said they believe the police department has dropped the ball on the whole situation.
Ward said he believes the memory card could have been essential in identifying the assailants and that its loss demonstrates the police department’s mishandling of the incident.
“Losing the memory card was a vital piece of evidence,” Ward said. “That could have easily identified the people involved or at least been on the news to show people and make them aware of the current problems with violence on campus.”
AAPD Sgt. Mike Lance, who arrived at the scene of the beating, was unable to comment on the loss of the memory card when interviewed by a Daily reporter last night, stating that he was unaware one had been turned over to police or which police officer would have taken it.
Ward said he believes the AAPD has “made a mess” of the incident.
“I don’t know what other steps the police took that night, but if the memory card is indicative of anything, I don’t think they went very far with it,” Ward said.
Lance said he was unable to confirm if AAPD is currently investigating the Oct. 31 incident, indicating that investigation of any incident is the victim’s choice.
“It’s up to the victim to pursue the case if they want to press charges,” Lance said. “If they don’t call to follow up, the case pretty much gets put down.”
Barton said he and Ward viewed the video before handing the memory card in and that it showed a good account of what happened once the violence began.
Barton said that some of the pictures he took showed college-aged men jumping on the back of the car the victim was driving just prior to the incident, which he believes may have been helpful in identifying the attackers.
The amount of people in the road forced the car to stop, Ward said. Once the people in front of the vehicle moved, the driver accelerated and one of the men on the back of the car fell.
“That’s when they started to throw things at the car and hit it, trying to open the doors” Ward said. “(The driver) couldn’t go anywhere.”
According to Ward, the driver then likely put the car in park, exited the vehicle and was immediately pushed to the ground. He said between eight and 15 young men were participating in the attack when he and others stepped in to stop the beating.
Other eyewitnesses who described the incident to the Daily estimated the number of attackers from as few as five to as many as 30.
“I was trying to stop it. Some girls that were there tried to stop it as well,” Ward said. “I don’t think (the girls) knew the guys who were beating him up.”
Eventually, the violence stopped and the victim was carried to a nearby porch, where he remained until police arrived at the scene.