Police chief says WSU football players weren’t targeted

Coach Mike Leach says athletes face more scrutiny than other students. 

Pullman Police Chief Gary JenkinsPullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins

 on Wednesday rejected claims from Washington State University coach Mike Leach that his department was unfairly targeting members of the Cougar football team after recommendations of second-degree felony assault charges against two players were forwarded to the county prosecutor this week.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Leach and we have a good working relationship,” Jenkins said, “but I disagree with the characterization we are targeting football players.

“We treat everyone the same no matter who they are – everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” he added. “We don’t target people for who they are, that includes race, gender, sexual orientation (or) if they are a football player.”

Leach, in a prepared statement he read after practice Tuesday, criticized the police department and the media for their handling of several recent incidents allegedly involving members of his team.

“We’re going to let the legal system take its course. But the system has to be checked if with the number of people involved in these incidents, the only ones accused are football players,” Leach told reporters. “If that’s the case, then something is seriously wrong, which goes deeper than whatever has even been alleged.

“… It is irresponsible to this town, this community and everybody to have some kind of a double standard where we only focus on one demographic, one group of people and then drag their name through the newspaper with a bunch of irresponsible comments.”

It’s the second time Leach has publicly questioned findings from an investigation by the department. On Aug. 25 he told the Daily News his star safety, Shalom Luani, 22, was “jumped” by three men at Domino’s Pizza, despite reports from the police and witnesses that Luani was the aggressor. Recommendations of second-degree felony assault charges against Luani were forwarded to the Whitman County prosecutor on Wednesday.

Two additional alleged assaults involving WSU football players took place this summer.

Via the Moscow-Pullman Daily News