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Bar closes early due to fight

Claire Heininger | Friday, October 29, 2004

A Notre Dame football player is a suspect in an assault that took place inside The Library Irish Pub early Sunday morning, police said. The altercation led to the early closing of the bar.

An off-duty South Bend Police officer saw James Ryan, 20, a junior offensive lineman, punch the alleged victim, 23-year old South Bend resident Kevin Marriott, in an altercation inside the bar, South Bend Police Capt. John Williams said.

Marriott, who could not be reached for comment, had cuts on his forehead, blood on his face and possibly a broken nose, but neither he nor Ryan required medical attention, Williams said.

Due to time constraints, the Sports Information Office did not permit The Observer to contact Ryan Thursday.

The alleged victim did not initially ask for an assault report to be completed, but changed his mind after learning the suspect was a football player at the University, Williams said.

Library owner Chuck Hammons said Ryan and Marriott were asked to leave the bar at approximately 1:45 a.m., at which point he and police decided to close the bar early.

“Things got a little rowdy and the decision was made … to shut down and avoid further problems,” Hammons said. “That time in the morning, tempers start to flare.”

An on-duty South Bend officer was sent to the bar to make an assault report, but by the time of dispatch, 2:20 a.m., Ryan was no longer on the premises, Williams said.

According to the police report, Marriott claimed an individual struck him as he walked through the crowded bar, Williams said. After Marriott said “excuse me” with “an attitude,” Ryan struck him directly, and the two exchanged blows until the officer intervened, Williams said, adding that Ryan later claimed Marriott spilled beer on him.

Williams said no witnesses were formally listed on the police report.

South Bend police have assigned the case to a detective for investigation, Williams said, but he was unable to comment on any progress made.

Assault reports that are not assigned to a detective are sent directly to the St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office, Williams said.

Chief deputy prosecutor Ken Cotter confirmed the office had not yet received a police report and did not have Ryan’s name on file.

Ryan was not custodially arrested or issued a citation for being an underage patron in the bar. Williams said he was unaware of the circumstances as to why the player was not issued a citation.

“If he was in that bar at 20 years old, he should’ve been arrested,” Williams said.

Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin said there are University-wide policies in place that apply to any student who breaks Indiana law.

Normal channels would include questioning the student about proper behavior and potential violations of state law, Storin said.

Irish football coach Tyrone Willingham said team policy is consistent with University regulations.

“We go strictly by everything the University adheres to. We should treat our guys just like they’re a regular student,” he said. “Now that does not mean that if something happens there can’t be an additional penalty, but the University guides the conduct of our students.”

Any additional penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis, Willingham said.

The Library regularly employs off-duty South Bend and Mishawaka police officers to check patrons’ identification and provide security, Hammons said.

Whether in or out of uniform, off-duty officers retain their power to make arrests, both South Bend and Mishawaka police said.

“If you’re in the state of Indiana, a South Bend police officer has police powers 24/7,” South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent said. Mishawaka patrolman Tyler, who would not reveal his first name, said the same applies to Mishawaka police, including when officers are in South Bend jurisdiction. The Library is located at 113 E. Wayne Street in downtown South Bend.

Security officers have made arrests in The Library before, Hammons said.

He said police have not contacted him since the incident, and added that although he had seen Ryan in the bar before, he would not call the player a regular patron. He said he was unaware that Ryan played football.

Meghanne Downes, Joe Hettler, Heather Van Hoegarden and Amanda Michaels contributed to this report.