Luani won’t be charged, but has damage already been done in the court of public opinion given Pullman police statements?

WHITMAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR Denis Tracy released a lengthy statement Monday, as reported by the Seattle Times, on why Cougar safety Shalom Luani won’t be charged in connection with an Aug. 24 incident at a Pullman pizza restaurant. So let’s compare a portion of Tracy’s findings vs. the weeks of Pullman police statements in the media from Commander Chris Tennant.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy
"Mr. Luani was hit multiple times, and according to witnesses was pushed to the ground, and possibly had his head pushed into a parked car.  He suffered multiple injuries to his face and head, had his shirt ripped, and according to a medical report, suffered a concussion."

Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant
"It will be an assault charge of some type, but the level I’m not sure about,” Tennant said. “We arrested (Luani) on a second-degree because there was bodily harm – he broke the guy’s nose."  -- Spokesman Review, Sept. 6.

Denis Tracy
"The reports and video show that there was pushing and pulling back and forth inside the pizza place, with the physical contact between Mr. Medina and Mr. Luani being started by Mr. Medina.  It concluded with Mr. Luani pushing Mr. Medina in the face, while Mr. Medina pulls his head back, and while Mr. Luani is walking away. Although there does appear to be some physical contact in that push, Mr. Medina is not injured in any way. Mr. Medina quickly follows Mr. Luani outside and is in turn quickly followed by a number of other your men. Mr. Medina and the other young men confront Mr. Luani outside."

Chris Tennant
"Using the palm of his hand, Tennant said Luani allegedly pushed the WSU student in the face as he went through the door, and the back of the student’s head hit the door," -- Seattle Times, August 24. 

"According to Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant, 'Mr. Luani was extremely frustrated about the long wait, he was verbally cussing and screaming about the pizza taking so long.” ... Tennant said Thursday that when Luani spoke to the police, he indicated that he had been “jumped for no reason” by seven or eight individuals. Tennant also pointed out that “this version doesn’t match the victim’s version, the witness version, and/or the employees’ version of events."  – Seattle Times, Aug. 24.

"Luani got frustrated it was taking so long and began yelling and screaming," Tennant said. "He was reportedly acting disorderly inside. Customers and staff members got tired of him yelling and a few (customers) continuously told him just to take his money and leave. Someone opened the door for him and said, ‘get out.’ Luani didn’t like that and hit the guy in the face with an open palm, causing him to hit his head on the door. He and the victim went outside and Luani then threw 3-4 more punches, breaking the guys’ nose. Officers got there and the student was bleeding profusely from his face." --, August 25.

Denis Tracy
"There is no video for what happened outside, but according to witness statements, Mr. Medina "came after" Mr. Luani, in order to "retaliate" for being pushed.  There were at least four young men, including Mr. Medina, that were confronting Mr. Luani.... In the ensuing altercation, Mr. Medina was hit once and got the broken nose. Mr. Luani may have hit other men that were confronting him."

Chris Tennant
"These things rarely go to court," (Tennant) told "They do generally result in some type of charges or plea deals. There will be some sort of legal interaction. You can't just go around breaking people's noses and expect it to go away."  -- ESPN, August 25.

ALL OF THIS NATURALLY BEGS the following question:

How many people will remember what Denis Tracy had to say today ... and how many people will instead remember Chris Tennant's statements?

RELATED STORY: The facts behind the infamous 31


Cougfan Top Stories