Texas Tech Chief of Police accused of going too far - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/24/09

Texas Tech Chief of Police accused of going too far

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By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A witness says the actions of Texas Tech Police Chief Ron Seacrist were excessive against a student skateboarder.

It happened on Tech's campus at 15th Street and Akron Ave.  A Texas Tech Traffic and Parking Attendant watched the incident unfold. "The SUV kind of pulled out and cut off the skateboarder," said Texas Tech Parking Services Senior Attendant Beaux Vigil.   

Vigil was working on Monday afternoon when he witnessed something he says he's never seen before. "I've seen a lot of close calls between vehicles and bicycles but never anything that looked intentional like that," said Vigil.   

Vigil says he saw 22-year-old Ryan Madrid skateboarding down 15th Street exchanging words with a man in a black Chevrolet Tahoe, when the SUV cut off the skateboarder causing him to fall. "He took a pretty big spill backwards. I got on the radio and called for the police department. I got the license plate of the vehicle and ran over there to make sure the skateboarder was ok and to see if he was injured," said Vigil.

Vigil says he had no idea until later that it was the Texas Tech Police Chief Ron Seacrist in the SUV.

In the incident report it states, Seacrist advised the skater to get out of the middle of the road, Madrid then yelled back "Who do you think you are?" and shouted obscenities at Seacrist, then skated on. It goes on to say Seacrist followed Madrid and told him he was chief of police.  According to Seacrist's account, he did not cut off Madrid, after he fell, he stopped to make sure he was alright.  

But Vigil says he saw it differently. "I thought there was a mad man on campus running people over truthfully," said Vigil. 

But Vigil says he was shocked when he found out who was behind the wheel. "Somebody in position of power should understand and try not to use excessive force and I think stopping a skateboarder with an SUV might be a little extreme," said Vigil. 

According to the Texas Tech Traffic and Parking Regulations, skateboarders are not allowed on streets at all where vehicles travel, but a ticket was not issued.

We spoke with Ryan Madrid he says he is in the process of filing a formal complaint against Chief Seacrist. If a complaint is filed, the university will investigate.  Madrid says he suffered minor cuts and scratches in the incident.  We also talked to Chief Seacrist who referred us to the incident report.

(Click here) to read a copy of that report.

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