Investigation continues into alleged altercation involving racial slurs at Halloween house party
No arrests have been made in connection with allegations of armed assault involving racial slurs at a Halloween house party as of Wednesday, Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said, but new details have emerged about officers’ actions on the night in question.
About 1:40 a.m. Nov. 1, officers responded to a report of a house party in the 1300 block of Kentucky Street. A man who said he had been at the party left the scene and called police from across town; he told them drugs were present at the “out of control” party, and he requested officers to investigate. The caller said he did not personally see a weapon being drawn.
McKinley said three officers then went to the scene, and a fourth went to the caller’s location. When police arrived at the party, McKinley said they found “a large crowd of people in the front and back of the home, as well as inside,” but many left after noticing the officers’ arrival. McKinley said officers spoke with some individuals there who said there had been a disturbance and fight, “with at least some of them alleging someone may have had a firearm.”
“Officers received information from some individuals who were present and willing to speak with the officers,” McKinley said, “though the three officers did not locate or interview all whom had seen or participated in the alleged incident.”
The investigation, listed as a battery and aggravated assault case, garnered public interest after Kynnedi Grant, president of Kansas University’s Black Student Union, shared her account of events on social media and again in person before a crowd of 1,000 at KU’s town hall forum on race last week.
Grant alleged she and some black friends went to the party and were confronted by a group of white men who called them racial slurs. She said someone also spit on her and put her in a “chokehold.” She also alleged 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 in a Facebook post. “We are black. Our attackers and police are white.”
The incident was documented that night, but the majority of the details were added to the report last Wednesday — the same day as the town hall and a week and a half after the alleged incident — when the victim and others agreed to come in and meet with officers for formal interviews, McKinley said.
McKinley said he could not “speak to why that was the day they came in.”
The interviews were apparently helpful, as McKinley said “information from (last) Wednesday’s interviews provided (police) enough detail to follow up on the allegations made of crimes occurring that night.”
“I understand we did not have that level of detail that evening,” McKinley said.
McKinley said victims and witnesses alleged that people were using racial slurs in the interviews, but he declined to describe those in detail so as not to affect further interviews with anyone police haven’t spoken with yet.
Grant did not respond to multiple requests, via email and in person, for an interview over the past week.