Las Vegas Sun

November 25, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican:

Metro’s blindness at soccer melee is a green light for more violence


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

A Chivas fan is beaten nearly unconscious by Club America fans after El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

Sun photographer Sam Morris showed great courage when he captured graphic images of the melee that broke out at the Chivas vs. Club America soccer match last week at Sam Boyd Stadium. If you haven’t seen the photos, you should. They are incredible.

Morris captured bloodied faces, victims stomped on, roundhouse kicks to the ribs, haymaker punches and one final jump from the stands into the body of a badly beaten victim.

These were merely the attacks captured during the game, on the field.

El Super Clasico - Chivas Fan Beaten

A Chivas fan lies motionless on the field after being beaten nearly unconscious by Club America fans after El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

Before the game, six fans were brought to local hospitals after fights between fans of the two teams, whose rivalry is akin to the Yankees and Red Sox.

As far as Metro Police is concerned, however, there was no crime committed at Sam Boyd Stadium that night.

Yes, you read that right. Metro did not make a single arrest, and they don’t plan on making any.

A Metro spokesperson says that because none of the victims stepped forward to file a report and press charges, there will be no arrests.

No victim, no crime.

This is wrong, morally and legally.

But as UNLV Boyd Law School’s Christopher Blakesley told me, “These were crimes against the state of Nevada and the people of Nevada.”

Yes, if I punch you, you are a victim deserving redress.

But I have also committed a crime against the community by sowing violence and discord. I haven’t broken your law. I have broken the law.

This is why when criminal charges are filed, they say, “State of Nevada v. …”

This is what separates us from cavemen, from atavistic societies of lawless personal retribution.

And, in this case, it’s easy to see that the soccer violence was a crime against all of us.

Here’s the message these crimes send to the community and the outside world: Sam Boyd Stadium isn’t a safe place to bring your family to a soccer match. That harms all of us.

As for Metro, what kind of message does their inaction send to these criminals?

That there are no consequences to savagely beating fans of a rival soccer club, even if you do it in a public space and are captured committing your crimes by a camera.

What are we, British?

That there are no consequences to running onto the field and fighting at Sam Boyd Stadium during a game.

That you can get away with bringing firecrackers into Sam Boyd Stadium.

These messages are all deeply damaging to our community fabric.

I understand that without victims and witnesses, these crimes would be difficult to solve, and that we’re dealing with immigrant communities that can be hesitant to assist police investigations.

But a defeatist mindset will merely intensify the criminals' assumption that they can intimidate victims and witnesses and prevent them from coming forward.

So it seems to me it’s worth a try. Put out the photos and video, as Metro often does in unsolved cases, and rely on the nine incident reports that were filed with Sam Boyd security officials.

If nothing else, at least we would be making a statement — that these attacks were criminal acts and will be not be tolerated.

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