Bleacher Brawl Investigated

Bleacher Brawl Investigated
By: CJ Cassidy

Cape Girardeau, MO -P

rosecutors wish every case were as easy to prove as the one involving an alleged assault by a
C
ape
G
irardeau
P
olice
O
fficer.

A
bystander at last year's
C
ape-
J
ackson football game filed a report
,
claiming an officer punched her in the face
.

B
ut the tables were turned on the alleged victim
,
when the ruckus was caught on tape.

"T

he defendant
L
asha
T
ownsend was at the
C
ape
-J
ackson football game with her friend
D
iane
R
ay
. They
were sitting in a section of the stands nicknamed the jungle
," Cape GIrardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle says.

"W

e get
dressed up in orange, we get
really rowdy
,
chant
and
cheer
, it's kind of like
our little cheering section
," Kayla Auer says.

The Cape Central High School Student
never imagined
the
video she ended up getting that night
her
"
little cheering section
"
would prove to be so crucial.

"I

'd just gotten
a video camera
for my birthday
. It's my
senior year
, so it was the
last
C
ape
-Ja
ckson game
, and I
was
just videotaping the crowd
," Auer says.

T
hat's how
she
happened to catch th
e
brawl on tape.

"O

ne of the juveniles in the group with
T
ownsend and
R
ay
,
a teenager
,
attacked one of the
C
ape
H
igh
S
chool students from behind and was in the process of punching her
,
when
D
avid
V
alentine
,
a
C
ape
P
olice
O
fficer standing where the cheerleaders were
,
reached over the rail and grabbed the
girl
doing the assault
," Swingle says.

I
t didn't end there.
S
wingle says the defendants then claimed
O
fficer
V
alentine punched
L
asha
T
ownsend.

"S

he was asked if it was with an open hand or closed fist and
she said
he punched
her
three times in the face
," Swingle recalls.

S
wingle says th
at's
where the video really made a difference.

"Y

ou can
clearly
see her mouth as the purse heads to her face then whack
, the
purse hits her in the face
. N
ot
D
avid
V
alentine
," Swingle explains.

"F

or a law enforcement officer a complaint like this
is
very detrimental to their livelihood they could lose their job
or get sued," Captain Roger Fields with the Cape Girardeau Police Department, who investigated the complaint, tells Heartland News.

B
ut thanks to
K
ayla
A
uer it didn't come to that.

"I

take
the camera
to basketball games now
, and
it's like a running joke
. I
get out my camera
, and
something's going to happen
," Auer laughs.

L
asha
T
ownsend and
D
iane
R
ay pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of filing
a
false report against a police officer.

S
wingle is pushing for the pair to spend seven days in the county jail.

I

t's now up to a judge to decide what happens next.