| Regarding the Incident between Katherine Jane Murray and the Annapolis Security Officers on Sunday, April 24, 2005 at about 17:00 hours
Second Statement: Written April 29, 2005 by Mark Ingham
There are four points that I did not cover in my first report because I had not realized their importance at the time.
1. The Hat Incident
There was an incident which had nothing to do with Jane that happened immediately preceding the handcuffing of Jane. A senior Annapolis St. John’s student, Jacob Thomas, was tackled by a short stocky black naval midshipman. The midshipman was chasing Jacob at top speed from a part of the field quite far from where Jane and I were standing. The midshipman was running after Jacob for the purpose of retrieving his hat, which Jacob had stolen from his head moments before in another part of the field. The midshipman tackled Jacob in a full football tackle which came to a tumbling halt in the midst of a crowd only three feet from where I was standing. The midshipman wrestled his hat from Jacob. They both stood up. Jacob shook hands with the midshipman with an air of mirth as if to say “Okay, that was fun. We’re cool right? No hard feelings.” The midshipman formally shook hands with Jacob, but with a look of restrained anger on his very serious face. A higher ranking officer, whom I assumed to be the United States Marines major, told him sternly to get back to the base “right now.” He immediately left the campus. I imagine that Jacob did not at the time comprehend how much trouble he must have gotten this midshipman into for publicly assaulting a civilian at a formal event for the sake of his hat. I imagine that the midshipman was in a double-bind because he would also face disciplinary action if he was caught without his hat at this official event. It was his great misfortune that he tackled Jacob within sight of his superior officer.
The reason I am including this story at all in this report is that it has come to my attention that Lt. Michael Boston has implicated Jane as a suspect in this completely unrelated event.
The reason that I am including the name of Jacob Thomas is not to bring disciplinary action upon Jacob, but to make my report specific and verifiable.
At the same time as Jacob was being tackled, all of the attention of the security officers seemed to already be on Jane. While watching Jacob being wrestled to the ground, I heard Lt. Boston say to Jane that she needed to “settle down.” Sgt. Little then said to Lt. Boston, “She needs to leave campus.” Lt. Boston, at this point, backed up his inferior officer and began to say to Jane, “You need to leave campus now.” The voices of the security officers were loud and threatening. At this point I turned away from Jacob’s situation and gave all my attention to what was happening with Jane. This brings me to my second point.
2. The Missed Opportunity for a Peaceful Resolution
I have a good relationship with Lt. Boston. I worked for him at Switchboard last year when I was a junior in Annapolis. My experience of Lt. Boston as his employee, and as a student who occasionally needed assistance from security, is that he has always been reasonable, respectful, and friendly. In the incident that I am about to describe, however, it is my opinion that he made a critical mistake in judgment.
When Lt. Boston called to Jane that she needed to leave campus, I ran up to Lt. Boston to learn what the situation was and to see if there was anything I could do to help. Lt. Boston loudly asked anyone in the vicinity, “Who is responsible for her?” and “Is there anyone here responsible for her?” I said to Lt. Boston, “I know Jane. She is a junior student in Santa Fe. I am her RA. What’s going on?” Lt. Boston asked me, “Are you responsible for her?” I responded, “No, I’m not responsible for her. She is here on her own. But what is going on?” Lt. Boston was visibly upset. He ignored my attempt to talk with him about what was going on, and walked right past me asking again, “Is anyone here responsible for her?” I followed him toward where Jane, backing up in high heals on a wet lawn, had just tripped and fallen over a couch. Three St. John’s College security officers were running towards her from different directions and convened upon her, presumably to physically remove her from campus. The physical struggle immediate followed.
After my report had been written and Jane had left campus, I went back to the security office and talked with the three officers for about fifteen minutes. Lt. Boston said that this was the last thing that he wanted to happen, that it looked bad to have three big officers wrestling a girl to the ground in front of so much media, and that he was afraid this would make negative headlines for an otherwise very successful day. He told me, “I asked, and nobody wanted to take responsibility for her. She had friends there, but none of them wanted to deal with her.” I asked him what I could have done. He said that if I had “taken responsibility for her” and walked her off campus, “all of this would have been avoided.” I told him that I did not know what he meant by “take responsibility for her.” She was not my dependent, I was not responsible for whatever trouble she must have been getting herself into, nor was she my official guest. She was a fellow Johnnie, who was independently attending an event of her own college by her own right. In any case, I told Lt. Boston that I had not understood him at the time, but that next time I would have said yes and taken the responsibility of walking Jane off campus. I have no doubt at all that Jane would have been more than cooperative, as she always has been in my relation with her as her RA. I blamed myself for making a poor judgment and not taking answering “yes” when he asked if I was responsible for her. However, it was not clear to me what Lt. Boston was asking.
In hindsight, I still feel that I am partly responsible for not realizing what Lt. Boston was requesting of me. But I do not feel that I am solely to blame. In my opinion, Lt. Boston failed in his duty to de-escalate the situation and resolve things peacefully when I was making it very clear to him that I wanted to know what was going on. By my words and my manner, I made it obvious to him that I was willing to help in any way that I could. I would have hoped that Lt. Boson could have used every means possible to resolve the situation peacefully before resorting to physical force. If he had turned to me and said something like the following, I believe that all would have been resolved peacefully: “Oh, you know Jane, and she is a Johnnie? She needs to leave campus, can you go talk with her and escort her off campus? If she does not leave campus immediately, we will be forced to physically remove her from campus ourselves.” If he had said something like this to indicate the gravity of the situation and had asked me to help, I would have gladly escorted Jane off campus. I then would have returned to campus myself to see if I could arrange a meeting to resolve the situation, or to explain to Jane what offence she had assertedly committed.
I hope that security officers will receive training in clear communication and methods of peaceful conflict resolution. If a security officer does not recognize a peaceful option because of a lack of training, then he or she ought to have this training. If a security officer cannot recognize a peaceful alternative because of being partly blinded by his or her own emotions in the heat of the moment, then perhaps some sort of anger management training may be of help.
3. An Eyewitness Account of Jane’s Struggle with Security
I witnessed the struggle between Jane and the officers from close range. Throughout the course of the struggle I was between one and ten feet away and there was nothing and no one blocking my view. I want to make one distinction clear. Jane’s movements of defense were ones of trying to wrench herself free in motions that denoted panic and confusion, not marshal attack. Her arms and legs were flailing about randomly as she tried to get herself free from the grip of the three officers. It may have happened that her flailing arms or legs inadvertently hit the officers as she struggled to free herself, but it did not look as though her intention was to land kicks and punches to the bodies of the officers.
4. The Likelihood of Jane Attacking the Major or Trying to Steal His Hat
My last point is a speculation about an event that I did not witness. I include it because I have many times witnessed Jane’s good-natured and personable playfulness. I am also an observant person with a good understanding of the ethos of both St. John’s College campuses.
The Annapolis campus has a history of rivalry with the midshipmen next door. Mostly, this is a healthy rivalry. The croquet match is mostly a very positive event that attracts Johnny alumni, Santa Fe exoduses, festive community members (townies), and midshipmen—in an air of competition that remains friendly and joyful. Almost every year, however, one can expect some incident or another to cast some small shadow over the weekend.
One of the more negative traditions of many Annapolis Johnnies is to try to steal hats from midshipmen on croquet weekend and at waltz parties. Such a tradition is alien to Santa Fe Johnnies. I have never heard Jane, in particular, indicate feelings of disrespect for the midshipmen or a desire to steal their hats. The evidence is to the contrary. Jane was visibly celebrating the naval victory with good cheer. I am witness that Jane was wearing a navy sweater. She was posing for pictures with both Johnnies and Midshipmen. Throughout the course of the weekend, I saw and heard of Jane brightening many people’s day. It may have happened that some few people were offended by her manner, but I did not witness one single such occurrence and I witnessed many occurrences to the contrary. It is hard for me to imagine Jane attacking someone or being otherwise dangerous to anyone’s well-being in a festive setting. In particular, I could not imagine Jane attacking one of the Midshipmen or one of their superior officers.
Although Lt. Boston’s report indicates that she “attacked” the major, what he showed me immediately following the event, in imitation of her motions, was that she was patting his arm or chest in a non-threatening manner. I agree that this was inappropriate, but not in any way evidence of an attack.
Jane claims that she was complimenting him on his hat, not reaching to take it off his head. Anyone who knows Jane will bear witness that she is one to give people generous compliments when they dress up nicely. I have heard her compliment many people on their dresses or suits on formal occasions. In particular, I remember her complimenting people at the dance of April 23rd (on the night before the croquet rain-day match). I did not witness her interaction with the major, but it would be much more consistent with my observations of her character that she was complimenting the major in a manner that he felt was inappropriately personal than that she was attacking him with the hopes of stealing his hat. I can understand very well, however, that the major, as well as the St. John’s security officers, would be very likely to jump to the obvious conclusion that this is what Jane was after, considering the hat-stealing tradition among Annapolis Johnnies.
The security officers have told me that Jane “cartwheeled into a group of middies and almost kicked the major in the head.” It was not clear if these were the words of the major, one of the security officers, or some other witness. Whatever the case, nobody claims that Jane actually physically connected with anyone during the cartwheel incident. My opinion of Jane’s character is that it is unlikely that she would have cartwheeled into people with an intention to harm them. Considering her gymnastic training, I also find it unlikely that she would have accidentally hit anyone. Although, if she had been so imprudent as to do the cartwheel without first removing her high heels, I can imagine that she may have stumbled and bumped into somebody.
In conclusion, I hope that in the future Johnnies will be given more benefit of the doubt and a non-threatening chance to explain themselves before they are condemned by actions that have been judged to stem from malicious motives. I would also hope that security might receive training that gives practical tools for effectively communicating in a way that will de-escalate a situation and resolve it peacefully if at all possible. I also hope that Jane learns to modify her usual manner of personal interaction around officials who have a more formal code of conduct.
I think that most Johnnies would agree that Jane has brightened croquet weekend with her cheer and good-natured enthusiasm over the last four years. If she makes the necessary apologies and learns what she needs to learn, I hope that she will be welcomed back to croquet weekends in future years. As Jane’s RA, I have suggested that she speak to one of our two college counselor about the incidents of croquet weekend and she has agreed to do so.
I would like to add one final remark regarding an issue that does not involve me as a witness, but that concerns me as a member of the St. John’s polity. I have heard that Jane’s Arial scholarship has been put on hold resulting from her unfortunate incident at croquet weekend. In my first report, I spoke of my experience with her as an RA. Jane has always been reasonable and respectful of dorm rules. She spends more of her weekend time studying than anyone else in my dorm, including myself.
I hope that testimony of Jane’s good character does depend upon her RA alone. If there is any doubt remaining of Jane’s ability to represent this school in a professional situation, as we expect from our award-winning students, I hope that her tutors will be consulted. If she has proven her maturity and professional conduct in the classroom as well as in her place of residence, I expect that the scholarship that she has already won will not continue to be called into question. It disappoints me that St. John’s College administrators would call into question the judgment of the Arial committee and consider revoking an award that a fellow student has already been awarded and has planned her summer around.
Again, please contact me if you have any questions, or if you need further evidence to verify my observations or my opinions of those involved in this unfortunate incident.
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