OU continues search for answers

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Norman-AP) -- University of Oklahoma officials are continuing their investigation into the events that led police to release pepper spray into a crowd after O-U's 31-14 victory over Nebraska.

University officials say they're reviewing tapes and photos and checking supervisor's reports.
Jeff Hickman is spokesman for university President David Boren. Hickman says Boren gave clear orders that chemical sprays were not to be used to protect property. Boren said it was to be used only in extreme situations endangering human life.

The spray was released in the south end zone as celebrating fans tore down the goalpost.
Hickman says the question is whether the spray was released to protect a woman who had fallen or if they were separate incidents.

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren made the following statement on the use of pepper spray after the OU-Nebraska game Saturday. "According to the preliminary findings of the inquiry which I ordered into the use of pepper spray after the OU-Nebraska football game, it appears that officers involved came from four different entities:
*City of Moore Police
*City of Norman Police
*Norman Schools Security Force and
*OU Health Sciences Center Police, Oklahoma City.

All of these agencies are cooperating with our inquiry. It would be inappropriate to release names of individual officers at this point. As President of the University, I had ordered that physical force and pepper spray should not be used as a law enforcement tool at the OU-Nebraska game to protect the goalposts. It is general University practice not to use pepper spray except in extreme emergency situations
that might be life threatening. Prior to the game, the OU Police provided a general briefing on this directive to officers from all agencies participating in security.

It appears that in this situation, some or all of the officers may have used the spray to protect a female student who had fallen to the ground
and could have been severely injured by the crowd. Because of this possibility, we will be as thorough as possible in our inquiry to assure
fairness. It would be unfair to the officers to rush to a premature judgment.

The young woman in question while bruised did not have to be admitted to the hospital. Law enforcement officers were able to move her to safety out of the crowd."