Sources: Video of Luani incident tells broader story

PULLMAN POLICE will recommend that prosecutors file an assault charge against Washington State safety Shalom Luani for his role in The Great Pizza Fracas, The Spokesman-Review reported late Tuesday night. But reliable sources in Pullman tell that videotape of the early morning Aug. 24 incident paints a situation far less cut and dried.

Luani was held out of WSU's season-opening loss to Eastern Washington last Saturday but is practicing with the first-string defense this week and expected to start at Boise State this Saturday night at 7:15 (ESPN2).

Pullman Police say Luani became agitated when his pizza order took too long and, after an initial altercation inside Domino's, he broke someone’s nose in subsequent unpleasantries immediately outside the establishment. Sources who have seen the videotape say the story is far more complicated -- an assertion that may explain Luani' contention he was the victim in the altercation and Mike Leach's comment 10 days ago that, "The initial fact-finding thing sounds like he got jumped by three people, but we’ll wait until it unfolds."

As described to CF.C by more than one person, the videotape inside Domino's shows multiple individuals pushing and shoving Luani out the door. 

The video does not show what occurred outside. Sources have told CF.C that Luani was struck first and then punched back, and that Luani was struck by multiple people. The sources also said that Luani suffered injuries to his face and head

Pullman police commander Chris Tennant told The Spokesman-Review that security footage provided by Domino’s shows what happened in front of the pizza counter, but nothing outside the building.

“It will be an assault charge of some type, but the level I’m not sure about,” Tennant is quoted in the S-R article on Tuesday night. “We arrested him on a second-degree because there was bodily harm – he broke the guy’s nose.”

Tennant said more witnesses are yet to be interviewed, and the investigation is expected to wrap up next week.

On Monday, Leach said of the incident, “I’m very disappointed that the court of public opinion has been tainted and contaminated the way it has.”


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