Police to meet with USU to evaluate security measures after fight breaks out

Brian De Los Santos

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University Student Union officials and CSUN police will be meeting to discuss a series of incidents that occurred at Matador Nights on April 23. One of the incidents was a confrontation that brought the event to an early end.

“We have issues almost every year,” CSUN police Chief Anne P. Glavin said. “This is an event that can’t seem to rise above its own problems. No matter what we do to tweak it from previous years, we continue to have difficulties.”

According to the CSUN police crime log, 11 crimes were reported at Matador Nights. Some of those included fights, obstruction of police officers, and illegal possession of a dorm building key. Three CSUN students were intoxicated and were taken to Northridge Hospital. Also, Capt. Scott G. Vanscoy was punched in the head by unidentified individuals and received medical attention on scene.

The CSUN police daily crime log lists three incidents where cars were broken into and ransacked, however it does not specify if it was related to Matador Night activities.

There was campus police on scene to patrol and secure the event. In addition, there were other CSU police officers and private security, which the USU hired.

Although attendees must go through metal detectors and, at times, are searched by security for weapons, marijuana smoke clouded the dance floor.

The fight that ended Matador Nights early is still under investigation. It is known that the altercation occurred between CSUN students and guests.

Witnesses said the fight broke out because the two suspects kept bumping into each other. Others said it began with a heated argument about a stolen wallet that concluded with the two groups fighting.

CSUN student Kevin Cox, 20, business major was at the scene when the commotion started. He said he knew some of the people involved in the dispute.

He said he did not see who began the fight but he “definitely did not expect something like that to happen.”

Matador Nights is a carnival held at the USU every semester. This was the 15th episode.

“I’m very disappointed that a small group of people can really ruin an event for 3,000 people,” Debra Hammond, USU executive board member, said.

There were about 2,900 people in attendance. CSUN students are permitted to bring a guest, with a college ID, for free.

Many non-CSUN students were asking CSUN students at the entrance line to help them get into the event. Some obliged while others turned them down.

Brandon Alexander Onunwah, a guest, was arrested and cited for battery on a person at Matador Nights.

When the fight broke out, attendees ran in various directions. CSUN police arrived less than a minute later.

Two suspects were apprehended by police at the scene. One was handcuffed, laying face down on the floor, and the other bled from his face, his blood pooling on the cement floor. A first aid staff member treated the wounded individual.

The event was shut down shortly after, at about 12:20 a.m.

Police and event staff urged attendees to leave the premises. Some students got hostile and tried to stay.

In a video shot by a Daily Sundial staff member, an unidentified police officer is seen shoving a person.

Glavin said although she cannot comment on that specific occurrence, people were not willing to move and were told to leave multiple times.

Attendees also allege that police with a rifle-like object threatened them.

“(The object) was not used that night,” Glavin said. “He (the officer) had no authority to use it. That would be highly inappropriate.”

Security measures were amended in 2008 to make Matador Nights a CSUN-student-only event, however the changes did not stay permanent.

“We evaluate after each event,” Hammond said. “We may have to make changes based on that.”

The Matador Nights planning committee and USU officials will meet to review information from CSUN police. In another meeting, they will jointly meet with police to discuss the future of the event.

“The question of how this event goes forward is up in the air,” Glavin said.