D.A. – Giddens charged in Moon Bar brawl
Former KU standout to appear in court Sept. 21
He’s been charged with battery and disorderly conduct.
But former Kansas University basketball player J.R. Giddens didn’t throw the first punch the night of an infamous brawl at a Lawrence bar.
That’s according to Douglas County’s prosecutor, who today filed charges against Giddens and another man in connection with a fight May 19 at the Moon Bar, a then-popular night club at Ninth and Iowa Streets.
Giddens and four other people suffered injuries in the bar’s parking lot from a knife wielded by 24-year-old Jeremiah Creswell of Olathe. Today Dist. Atty. Charles Branson charged Giddens with battering Creswell and with disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
Branson said an investigation supported eyewitnesses’ accounts that the events outside happened after Giddens and a group of men attacked Creswell and that Creswell used the knife in self-defense.
Branson declined to talk about details of what he believes Giddens did. But disorderly conduct often means “engaging in conduct that instigated a fight,” he said.
Still, Branson said Creswell punched Giddens inside the bar before the fight resumed outside. That account fits with a version eyewitnesses told The Journal-World in June.
“There’s two incidents,” Branson said.”The first incident in time, Creswell battered Giddens. The second incident in time, Giddens in addition to committing disorderly conduct battered Creswell.”
Creswell has been charged with one count of misdemeanor battery for his alleged punch.
Despite eyewitness reports that other men were involved in attacking Creswell outside the bar estimates have ranged from four up to 10 or more no one else has been charged. Branson said the case remains under investigation, and more charges could be filed if additional details come out during trial.
“I would say we believe that there are potentially more people that are responsible for attacking Creswell, and there may be potentially additional victims of Creswell outside,” Branson said. “These things are at the minimum of what we believe we have clear enough evidence to file charges on right now.”
The charges come after a nearly three-month investigation and interviews with more than 50 witnesses. During an afternoon press conference, Branson repeatedly declined to talk about specifics of what led up to the fight.
“The reality of it is you’ve got a melee,” Branson said. “You can go through these 50-some statements and they all differ as to who did what when.”
Giddens, an Oklahoma City native, has since transferred to the University of New Mexico. Creswell is in the Johnson County Jail awaiting sentencing in an unrelated assault case.
J.R. Giddens issued a statement through the University of New Mexico.
“Last May, I had an experience I will remember the rest of my life. I learned a lot from what happened that evening, and I feel I am a better person because of it. Now, I want to move on with a new and exciting situation I have at the University of New Mexico. I haave really enjoyed my brief time at Albuquerque and I look forward to working with my new teammates and making a positive impact to the Lobos basketball team on and off the court.”
In lieu of arrests, both Creswell and Giddens were issued summons to appear in court on Sept. 21.
Kansas coach Bill Self issued a statement saying the matter is behind the program. “We have put this situation behind us. The district attorney statement speaks for itself. We will have no further comment on this matter.”