Wednesday, July 27, 2005

KU fan to stand trial after altercation in Columbia

Banner at hoops game led to trouble with police chief


A former Kansas University student plans to challenge criminal charges stemming from an altercation with the University of Missouri police chief during a "Border Showdown" basketball game earlier this year.

Andrew Wymore, who was arrested following an altercation with the University of Missouri's police chief, is scheduled to stand trial on trespassing charges at 9 a.m.. Aug. 3 in municipal court at Columbia, Mo.

"I was a ticketed fan, and they ejected me for trespassing for absolutely no reason at all," Wymore said.

Wymore, who lives in Leawood, said he has been offered a $50 plea bargain for the trespassing charge, which could carry a fine of $115, according to the court's Web site. Instead of taking that, he's hired a Columbia attorney to fight the charge.

The incident occurred March 6 before the KU-MU basketball game in Columbia. Wymore and three friends received permission from an usher to unfurl a 6-foot-long banner at Mizzou Arena. The banner had several previous names of Missouri's arena crossed out, followed by the phrase, "Call it what you want, it will always be Allen Fieldhouse East."

A man - later identified as MU Police Chief Jack Watring - complained about the banner and asked to have it removed. When Watring began taking the sign down, one of the fans, KU student Chris Kaufman, protested and asked to take the sign down himself.

After a brief argument, Kaufman said, Watring grabbed Kaufman's shirt and said, "Do you know who I am? I'm the police chief of the University of Missouri."

Wymore said he returned from a concession stand to see only the tail end of the argument, when Watring and another officer took the fans to the concourse to discuss the issue. Wymore said he was ejected from the arena after saying, "That's his property" in reference to the sign and Kaufman.

Wymore said an officer told him he could not re-enter the arena using the ticket he had in hand. He was later arrested for trespassing when he purchased another ticket and attempted to re-enter the arena.

His friends later posted $500 to have him released from the Boone County Jail.

Wymore said he expected a police major and his three fellow fans to testify at the bench trial. A spokesman from the Columbia city prosecutor's office said it was policy not to comment on pending cases.

Wymore said he doesn't plan to accept the plea bargain.

"It's just the principle of the matter," he said.


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