SFA officials ask ‘swatting’ victim to release bodycam footage of event to provide closure, accuracy

SFA officials ask ‘swatting’ victim to release bodycam footage of event to provide closure, accuracy

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - SFA held a press conference Saturday morning regarding a false report to university police made on Sept. 14.

SFA Police Chief John Fields said in a press conference on Sept. 30 that a community assistant called university police about a threat of a woman who was brandishing scissors and making threats to other residents in the dorm.

Fields said officers were sent to Room 103. When they got to Room 103, they were re-routed to Room 116. Officers knocked on the door four times and a suitemate let officers in through their door to the suite. The officers then entered Christin Evans room. One officer took their weapon out of their holster and another had their Taser. Fields said the first officer did not point a weapon.

Fields said they realized Evans was in her bed and the threat was de-escalated, and the gun and Taser were re-holstered.

SFA is now calling upon the Evans family to permit the release of the police bodycam video so that “everyone will be able to see exactly what happened, and see that the video will show a very different scenario than what is being portrayed in media," SFA’s public communications liaison Erica Harris said. She is referencing reports by some media outlets that police stormed into Evans room unannounced with numerous weapons drawn, she said.

The investigation conducted by the SFA Police Department which may include possible multiple criminal charges by multiple students has been handed over to the district attorney’s office. SFA’s investigation will be concluded by the end of next week, and at that time the university will determine what disciplinary actions will be taken against those people, Harris said.

According to the SFA official leading the press conference, any possible criminal charges will be determined by the county DA’s office. Disciplinary action taken by the university can range from suspension to expulsion. Harris noted that contrary to some reports, the swatting incident was not racially motivated, and that the group of suspects are a racially-diverse group of people.

The victim and her family have hired an attorney and are seeking his counsel. All comments from the Evans side has come from the family attorney, Harris said. She said the university is committed to transparency and asks that that the family release the video, which depicts a “much different reality than has been recalled, and a far different reality from the reports from some media reports of police storming into the students' room,” Harris said. “We ask the Harris family to release the video to shine the light on the truth.”

Harris said the university’s goal is for Ms. Evans to feel comfortable and welcome at the university. She said because of privacy, the university cannot ask police to release the video. The victim or her attorney must do so.

Harris said several times that media reports that police stormed in with guns blazing were untrue. She said that one officer entered the darkened room with an unholstered gun and a flashlight in response to the reported threat. Another officer present had no unholstered gun. When he saw Evans in the room and that she was not threatening anyone, he holstered the gun, and he and Evans had a “very cordial” conversation in the room and out in the hallway, Harris said. She asks that the video be released to show the truth of the event so that Evans can have closure and to refute the media reports that she says allege a much different scenario than what actually happened.

“Our ultimate hope is that we can all find a happy conclusion to this case, that there will be closure, and that those who are responsible will be held accountable for the actions that they’ve done; that Ms. Evans will be able to heal. Releasing the bodycam footage will enable us to move forward with the healing and have the community rally around Ms. Evans," Harris said.

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