“See It Now: In ‘Do-Over’ Interrogation, Berkeley Campus Cops Lead Football Strength and Conditioning Coach Damon Harrington to Answers About Ted Agu’s Sickle Cell Trait That Avoid ‘Not Telling the Truth or Being Deceptive’,” March 13, 2019, https://concussioninc.net/?p=13696
Complete headline links to our series on the Ted Agu death cover-up (beginning November 2013 — before Agu’s death): https://concussioninc.net/?p=10877
by Irvin Muchnick
The Berkeley campus police officer who responded at the scene of Cal football player Ted Agu’s fatal collapse during an extreme conditioning drill recorded in the first sentence of her incident report narrative that Agu “had a pre-existing medical condition”:
“On 02/07/14, at approximately 0653 hours, I was dispatched to the report of a male subject who had a pre-existing medical condition and was having a medical episode near the North tunnel of the Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.”
Officer Stephanie Martinez’s one-page report of her dispatch to Agu’s medical emergency intensifies interest in the already substantial existing evidence of irregularities in the actions of the University of California following the death. The document, obtained by Concussion Inc. from a campus source, establishes that the “pre-existing medical condition,” sickle cell trait, seemed to be a mystery to no one except for the Alameda County medical examiner, who, with a little help from the Cal football team physician, would go on to make an inaccurate finding of the cause of death.
In the days after Agu died, the university’s public relations strategy of refusing to reveal that he was a carrier of the trait, which had rendered him susceptible to sudden death during extreme exertion, combined with concealment by Dr. Casey Batten in a telephone conversation with the coroner, Dr. Thomas Beaver. Batten pushed to Beaver the theory that Agu had been a victim of hypertrophic cardiomopathy — heart failure — and the coroner’s autopsy report would conclude accordingly.
The following year, after Beaver was confronted with the information about sickle cell trait and Batten’s manipulation of the information, during depositions in the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the university, the coroner asked the Alameda County sheriff’s office to amend his autopsy report. The civil suit then moved toward its final $4.75 million settlement.
In 2017 I took the UC Regents to Alameda County Superior Court under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), in an ongoing case to uncover the background of this payout of public funds and other aspects of the Agu death cover-up.
Last week Concussion Inc. published transcripts of campus police interrogations of Damon Harrington, the football strength and conditioning coach who designed and supervised the extreme drill during which Agu died. Harrington’s responses to questions of his awareness of Agu’s sickle cell trait were so evasive that a supervising campus police lieutenant, Marc DeCoulode, ordered Detective Harry Bennigson to stage a second interview. In the follow-up, the police officers coached Harrington through “clarification” of his knowledge, so as to allay concerns that he was, in their words, “not telling the truth … or being deceptive.”
Like those transcripts, which I also obtained from a campus source, the newly surfaced report by Officer Martinez appears to be part of a 141-page binder of police files that Judge Jeffrey S. Brand last month ruled are exempt under a CPRA provision protecting law enforcement records. After first demanding a “particularized and objective basis” for meeting a standard of “reasonable suspicion of criminal activity,” the judge simply decided to accept declarations by campus police chief Margo Bennett and Lieutenant DeCoulode to the effect that every death on campus is treated like a criminal investigation.
Deposition testimony during the Agu civil lawsuit confirmed that only 29 of the disputed 141 pages were even forwarded to the Alameda County sheriff’s officers who were gathering information to support the medical examiner’s autopsy report.
Below is the full text of the Martinez incident report narrative. Below that text is our repeat reproduction of the text of the binder table of contents, which Concussion Inc. obtained and published last year. This new document appears to be part of chapter A of the binder: “Initial UCPD report and supplements.”
We are preparing a facsimile of the newly acquired page for upload and public viewing.
On 02/07/14, at approximately 0653 hours, I was dispatched to the report of a male subject who had a pre-existing medical condition and was having a medical episode near the North tunnel of the Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
Sergeant T.Wing#12 and I saw the male subject who was later identified as Cal football player AGU, Ted O. (MB-21-S), laying on the ground along the north west plaza level of Cal Stadium. Two male subjects who were later identified as Cal Football athletic trainers were performing CPR on AGU and had deployed the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). JACKSON, Robert (MW-33-E), Head Athletic Trainer was giving rescue breaths and monitoring AGU’s pulse and JONES, Michael (MW-22-E), Graduate Intern Athletic Trainer was performing chest compressions.
I later spoke with JACKSON and JONES who related the following to me. At approximately 0630 hours, the football team and athletic trainers were conducting their morning warm up by jogging uphill near Bowles parking lot. JACKSON had noticed that AGU waa having trouble with the run and appeared to be short of breath. JACKSON said the athletic trainers conducting the warm up removed AGU from the run and drove him in a golf cart and while driving along the north west plaza of the stadium near North Gate AGU slumped over in the golf cart and lost consciousness. AGU was placed on the concrete ground. JONES ran over to AGU and JACKSON began checking his pulse and breath. After assessing AGU, the AED was used and they began CPR. The AED did not advise for a shock but assisted with the CPR process until BFD arrived.
BFD Medic #2 arrived and coordinated with JACKSON and JONES in taking over emergency medical services. BFD transported AGU to Alta Bates Hospital. Sgt. Wing and I provided transportation for JONES who waited in the waiting room for information on AGU. Officer W. Mendoza #62 arrived at Alta Bates Hospital for follow up on AGU’s condition. At approximately 0755 hours, Ofc. Mendoza was notified by Alta Bates hospital staff that AGU had passed away.
Table of Contents of the “binder”
A Initial UCPD report and supplements
B Supplement autopsy
C Miscellaneous supplements/documents
D Interview with Damon Harrington
E Interview with Michael Jones
F Interview with Austin Hinder
G Interview with Drake Whitehurst
H Interview with Daniel Lasco
I Interview with Joey Mhalic [sic]
J Interview with Michael Jones transcripts
K Interview with Robert Jackson transcripts
L Interview with Drake Whitehurst transcripts
M Interview with Damon Harrington transcripts#1
N Interview with Damon Harrington transcripts#2
O Interview with Austin Hinder
P Final autopsy report by Dr. Beaver