DEATH IN CUSTODY UNDER INVESTIGATION
Wednesday, August 13, 1997
By JEFF MAYO Camera Staff Writer
A day after the memorial service for Luis McIntire - the 20-year-old Colorado Springs man who died after an altercation at a Boulder "rave" party Aug. 3 - one witness said McIntire didn't say anything or throw any punches after being escorted from the event.
City officials, meanwhile, are awaiting an autopsy report before releasing reports on the incident, which is under investigation.
Stephone Knight, 25, of Fort Collins was working the entrance at the east Boulder rave taking tickets when he saw security guards escort McIntire - bleeding from his nose - out of the building.
McIntire - who was 5-foot-11 and weighed 240 pounds, according to his parents - was surrounded by four security guards, Knight said Tuesday. About five feet outside the front door, McIntire and the guards fell to the ground, Knight said. He said he didn't know if the group fell accidentally or if the security guards pushed McIntire to the ground.
With McIntire face down on the concrete, two of the security guards grabbed him on each arm, one grabbed his legs and the fourth put his knee on McIntire's neck, Knight said.
Knight said he shouted at the guards, "You better be nice to him." The security guards responded that they had called police.
"Within two or three minutes a cop walked up - his car was parked on the other side of the gate near the entrance - then backup (police) came soon after," Knight said.
After the police officer arrived, security guards told him McIntire put up some resistance, Knight said.
As the officer tried to handcuff McIntire, Knight saw McIntire - on the ground with security guards on top of him - move his arm in resistance, which apparently prompted the officer to spray McIntire in the face with pepper spray.
Unidentified officers and security guards then hobbled McIntire by pulling his legs up toward his back and tying them to his handcuffed wrists.
"I didn't understand why the kid didn't scream for help or say something," Knight said. "He didn't say anything at all."
The scene - which lasted about 10 minutes - ended when officers carried McIntire away, Knight said.
"Not too long after they left, a cop came back," Knight said.
The music was stopped so an announcement could be made requesting friends or family of McIntire to come forward, Knight said.
"I guess he had died or was about to die," he said.
The off-duty Boulder police officers working the party at Olympic Bowl - Sgt. Robert Sullenberger and officer Scott Adams - could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The two called police for assistance and several officers responded, said Leslie Aaholm, the city's spokeswoman.
"There were several officers who responded, and one of the officers was Dan Johnson, who assisted at the scene," Aaholm said.
Aaholm said she could not comment further because the case is being investigated.
"We're not releasing any more information until the cause of death has been determined," said Carey Weinheimer, a Boulder police detective investigating the incident. The coroner could make that determination next week, he said.
Seven Sun Productions hired the off-duty officers, said Karen Luebke, the Boulder Police Department's off-duty coordinator.
Luebke said that in the less than a year she has been coordinator, the department has not turned down a request for off-duty help. But events where fights have broken out in the past are not likely to be granted off-duty police officer security, Luebke said.
"There were no problems at the previous raves worked by officers," she said. "They're always a low-key event."
Randy Allen, the McIntire family's Colorado Springs attorney, said he is concerned about whether the force used was rea sonable and necessary under the circumstances, and whether the method of force was appropriate.
Hobbling has been banned in several cities across the country, including Los Angeles, he said. Los Angeles banned the procedure in response to several lawsuits, he said.
Allen, who knew McIntire before the incident, said he would be surprised if the young man was fighting wildly.
"One consistent theme I've heard from witnesses is that he was not shouting or screaming back and he did not throw a punch," Allen said. "He may have struggled, but his arms were being held by security guards the entire time."
This page last updated 08 Jun 98
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