Police investigating reported altercation involving racial slurs at Halloween house party
Black student leader says she was attacked
Lawrence police are investigating an altercation involving racial slurs that reportedly occurred at a house party on Halloween night.
About 1:40 a.m. Nov. 1, officers responded to a report of an “out of control” house party in the 1300 block of Kentucky Street, according to Sgt. Trent McKinley, Lawrence Police Department spokesman.
Friday afternoon the investigation — listed as a battery and aggravated assault case — remained ongoing and no arrests had been made, McKinley said.
Word of the incident spread when Kynnedi Grant, president of Kansas University’s Black Student Union, shared her account of events on social media earlier this week and again in person before a crowd of 1,000 at KU’s town hall forum on race Wednesday.
On her Facebook page and at the forum, Grant said she and some black friends went to the party and, while searching for a friend’s lost wallet, were confronted by a group of white men and the situation escalated. They were called names and racial slurs, she said, and she was spit on and put in a “chokehold.” She said one white man pulled a gun on two of her friends. She said they spoke to police officers outside.
“No report was made, no comfort given to us,” she wrote Tuesday in a Facebook post that has been shared by more than 500 other people. “We are black. Our attackers and police are white.”
The incident is recorded on the Nov. 1 police call log, and five police units responded to the scene, according to the log.
The majority of the details, however, were added to the report on Wednesday — a week and a half later — after the victim and others agreed to come in and meet with officers for formal interviews, McKinley said.
It is unclear why there was a week-and-a-half delay between the incident and the time the victim and others met with police for interviews.
Grant did not respond to multiple requests, via email and in person, for an interview over the course of this week.
McKinley said he “cannot speak to why that was the day they came in.”
McKinley said the Nov. 1 police call came from a man who had been at the party, left the scene and then called police from across town. McKinley said the caller told police that the party was “out of control,” that there were drugs present and requested that officers investigate. The caller said he did not personally see a weapon being drawn.
Police are investigating allegations of a fight during which a handgun was allegedly used to threaten people, and as such the case it titled as a battery and aggravated assault.
McKinley said victims and witnesses alleged that people were using racial slurs, but he declined to describe those in detail so as not to affect further interviews with anyone police haven’t spoken with yet.
Some social media users who tweeted or posted to Facebook about the incident called it a “hate crime.”
McKinley said a hate crime, per the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is defined as being motivated by the offender’s bias against a group of people based on their race, religious beliefs, disability, ethnic/national orientation or sexual orientation.
— Caitlin Doornbos contributed to this story.