“John, regarding the documents I gave you yesterday, please don’t share the papers … l put them together for you (and Ann if needed) only. If others need the information, I am happy to give a verbal briefing, but not documents. The case is not available for a PRA [Public Records Act] request and I’d like to keep it that way.”
— email from Margo Bennett, Berkeley campus police chief, to John Wilton, vice chancellor for finance and administration, March 20, 2014
by Irvin Muchnick
Concussion Inc. has asked the court in our California Public Records Act lawsuit against the University of California, for documents in the 2014 Ted Agu football death in Berkeley, to focus the case proceedings to the immediate release of the known 141 pages of campus police reports in the aftermath of the conditioning drill fatality. There will be a case management hearing Thursday in Hayward before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Brand.
Anyone wondering why we have taken this step need look no further than Friday’s release by the University of Maryland of the findings of the first of two commissioned investigations into the very similar death this year of Maryland football player Jordan McNair. Agu and McNair were two of at least 37 student-athletes who have perished in college football conditioning since 2000.
The first Maryland investigation, headed by sports medicine consultant Rod Walters, concluded that the training and medical staffs were slow to give attention to the stricken McNair on May 29; he died on June 13 after complications from heatstroke, which included a liver transplant. A second forthcoming investigation will examine allegations of verbal abuse and bullying in the football program — what players earlier told ESPN was a “toxic culture.”
At UC Berkeley, there was no published investigative report on what happened with Agu — only a $4.75 million wrongful death lawsuit settlement with the family two years later. Two “independent reviews” of the football strength and conditioning program, the first of which was a joke in its author bias and unprofessionalism, were structured to exclude specific examination of and accountability for what happened on February 7, 2014.
The only documents known to delve into the Agu death and surrounding events are a 141-page collection of campus police reports, which UC has characterized to the court as a “binder.” The existence of the binder was not acknowledged by the university in our case until after we presented evidence that, in the Agu family lawsuit, an Alameda County sheriff’s lieutenant had testified that his office, investigating the death to support the work of the coroner, was given only 29 pages of Berkeley campus police materials.
I have acquired the text of the table of contents of the 141-page binder. This index of the 16 documents therein suggest that it is the closest thing to the current University of Maryland investigative reports that the citizens of California could ever hope to see.
Monday at Concussion Inc.: The Berkeley campus police and the Agu cover-up.
Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series: https://concussioninc.net/?p=10877