Editor’s Note: Tuesday University officials have confirmed to KFOR, the last time Ismail Garcia was enrolled at the University of Oklahoma was in the fall of 2020.
NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A former OU student is dealing with multiple injuries and charges after an altercation with University of Oklahoma police at Saturday’s Bedlam game between OU and OSU.
Ismail Garcia, said he and a friend got up from their seats for a bathroom break during the first quarter. On their way back, they were prevented from returning to their seats.
“We just went to the restroom into the first quarter [and] we were trying to head straight back [to our seats],” he said, while saying they followed the flow of the crowd when attempting to return to their seats.
Garcia said that’s when an OU officer approached him and said there were no more seats.
“He said, ‘You all need to leave.’ And everyone just looked at him [and] stood there, and then he repeated [it] again [and] that’s when he started stepping forward. He grabbed some people and then he pushed me and then that’s when the altercation started,” he continued.
Numerous reports from Saturday’s game stated that the game was oversold and there was a lack of seats; however, OU officials have not confirmed by how many.
“I said [to him] we’re at the bottom of Section 28. I said, I have a ticket. I’m a student here. And then from there that’s when he pushed me in the chairs. I fell back and hit the concrete wall, and then he tried to grab my left arm.”
Garcia said the officer called for backup and several other officers responded.
“I was screaming the whole time. I was screaming [that] I paid for a ticket. I’m a student here. Why are you doing this?” he said.
The confrontation was caught on camera by bystanders and the resulting footage was viewed hundreds of times on social media.
In video provided to KFOR, you can see Ismail screaming and writhing on the ground while multiple officers attempted to restrain him.
Garcia said he was later treated at the hospital before being booked into the Cleveland County Jail.
Garcia provided documentation that shows he was treated for multiple injuries to his head, neck, ribs and possibly two broken wrists.
“My neck, my shoulders, arm and elbows were twisted. I had weight on my back. My legs are bruised as long as my ribs. It hurts to take deep breaths to laugh..I’m just in pain,” he added.
KFOR contacted the University of Oklahoma and, through an open records request, asked for copies of a police department incident report, body camera footage and evidence that Garcia was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
The information has not been provided as of this story’s publication but in a statement to KFOR Monday night, OU’s police department said Garcia “refused to leave the aisle, assaulted a non-OU police officer and resisted arrest.”
“During the football game on Saturday, November 19, 2022, officers with the University of Oklahoma Police Department were called to the east side of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to assist with crowd control. Officers worked to clear the aisles and control the flow of fans entering the bowl at stadium ramps, ensuring fan safety. The defendant refused to leave the aisle, assaulted a non-OUPD officer, and resisted arrest. Once officers managed to place handcuffs on the defendant, he was brought to his feet and taken to be medically evaluated at the stadium, where he continued to resist. He was taken to Norman Regional Hospital for additional evaluation. Later that evening, the defendant was transported to the Cleveland County Detention Center on charges of assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, public intoxication, and obstruction of justice. It is standard procedure to conduct a use of force review for each use of force, with “force” being defined as “The application of physical techniques or tactics, chemical agents, or weapons to another person. It is not a use of force when a person allows him/herself to be searched, escorted, handcuffed, or restrained.“STATEMENT FROM OU POLICE
Garcia denies being intoxicated and said he was not aggressive toward officers before being thrown to the ground.
“I was just lucky enough [this] was in public and there were decent people around. I’m extremely grateful for people being around and recording and coming out and telling the truth of what happened. I think those officers were completely wrong and [this was] uncalled for. And the use of force is just completely unnecessary, especially for a person my size and at that, a student,” said Garcia.
Garcia is scheduled for a court appearance on December 7th.
OU police have not confirmed how many officers were assisting with crowd control at Saturday’s event, or how many additional arrests were made.