Police report sheds light on what ignited Halloween night brawl, led to BYU football player dismissals
An hour or two after the Provo Police Department and the Provo City Attorney's Office issued a news release saying ex-BYU football players Joe Sampson and Zac Stout were among four people to be charged with misdemeanor assault for their roles in the now-famous Halloween night fight at the Provo Rancherito's restaurant, the city's public records office turned over the police report. I had filed a GRAMA request for the report a few days ago, but officials apparently determined it could not be made public while the case was still in the hands of prosecutors. Once charges were filed, they sent it to me. As you've probably read here or heard by now, Sampson, 23, and Stout, 21, were charged in Provo Justice Court with two counts each of assault, class B misdemeanors, which carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Two other individuals were charged. Alexander Powell Jackman, 21, of Provo was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault. Matthew Santos, 20, who walked on to the BYU football team in 2010 but was on the scout team and never played, was charged with one count of assault. Court records show that Sampson, Stout and Santos have the same address in Provo. Sampson and Stout were kicked off the BYU football team by coach Bronco Mendenhall, and both have withdrawn from school. Mostly, the police report just details what can be seen on one of the two surveillance videos around 2:50 a.m. on Nov. 1. But the report does shed some light on how the altercation started. It reads: "All of [the witnesses and/or victims who were there when police arrived] said that when they walked into the restaurant that night there was a group of three girls and five guys, including Stout, Jackman, Santos and Sampson. "This group of people were making rude comments [to the victims/witnesses], who just ignored the group and sat down. They said that [the three girls] and Stout, Jackman, Santos and Sampson then started to walk out of the restaurant, but Stout stopped at their table and was saying rude comments to some of the girls in their group. They tried to get Stout to leave .... After a few minutes [Victim No. 1] stood up from the table that he was at ... and Stout swung and hit [Victim No. 1] two times." The police report says it was Jackman who hit a woman "in the left side of her face." According to the report, it was Santos who "walked into the restaurant, and walked up to [Victim No. 2] and punched him in the face." Witness No. 2 [BYU football player Jordan Johnson] "then let go of [Victim No. 2) and pushed Santos out of the restaurant." The report says a Rancherito's employee called police and gave them the license plate numbers of two vehicles that left the restaurant after the brawl. Police stopped one vehicle, and three females were inside. The women gave the officers the names of Stout and Santos, but not Sampson and Jackman. On Nov. 5, 2012, the investigating officer was able to obtain a copy of the surveillance video from the restaurant and "discovered that I had two more suspected who I needed to locate. With the help of BYU athletic personnel, I was able to identify all four suspects." Interestingly, according to the police report, BYU cornerback Jordan Johnson did not immediately flee the scene with the three females or four males who were eventually charged. Notes the officer: "Upon arriving I saw W2 [Witness No. 2, which was Johnson], walking west across State Street. I called out to [him] to stop and he said, 'I was not fighting. I just stopped it.. I told [Johnson] to stop and wait. [He] was not cooperative and kept walking away. I again told him to top and sit down on the curb and he finally complied. I spoke to [him] regarding the fight. He said some of his friends got into the fight, and all he did was try to break it up. [He] said he knew who was involved, but he did not want to tell me."Incidentally, there is no mention of drugs or alcohol in the five-page report.