Editor's Note: This story includes mentions of assault, racial slurs and vulgar language.
A February incident in the Greek Leadership Village that prompted outrage on social media resulted in two alleged assaults and left the ASU chief of police “disappointed” by missing details from the initial police report filed by an ASU officer, according to emails obtained by The State Press.
The initial police report, which detailed the altercation between ASU students Lindsey Schmitt and William Hood Jr., left out important details from a police-recorded interview that were later added in a supplemental document.
Hood, a Black man, told the officer that Schmitt, a white woman, hit him. He pushed Schmitt, and she fell to the floor and allegedly said, “You f---ing n----r, you hit me, you hit me, you hit me,” according to the supplemental report added a month after the initial report was completed.
The initial police report, filed by Officer Morgan Davis, includes no mention of Schmitt using racial slurs.
The Office of University Rights and Responsibilities has started an investigation into the police reporting process to ensure the “proper steps were taken,” ASU PD spokesperson Adam Wolfe said.
Schmitt was arrested and charged with assault. Hood was arrested, and ASU PD recommended charges of assault and trespassing to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, but the county did not accept the recommendations, and ASU PD later confirmed Hood would not be charged. The police department submitted charges for Schmitt to the Maricopa County Justice Courts. Her pretrial conference was originally set for Thursday but has been rescheduled to May 6.
Hood, in a civil lawsuit, is suing Schmitt on three counts: negligence, assault and battery, and damages, according to a complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on March 31.
What’s in the initial police report
Schmitt’s sorority, Delta Gamma, hosted a dance on Feb. 11 that she, her roommate and Hood attended. According to the report, Hood, the roommate's date, allegedly touched the roommate inappropriately at the dance. The roommate, whose name was redacted, later told Schmitt she was not OK with Hood touching her, according to the report.
Later in the evening, Schmitt, her roommate and Hood returned after consuming alcohol to the Delta Gamma house in the GLV. Schmitt confronted Hood about how he had allegedly touched her roommate and the two began arguing, according to the police report.
Schmitt told Davis, the responding officer, she punched Hood in the face. Then Hood “grabbed her and slammed her against the wall which caused her to fall to the floor,” the police report says.
A bruise was left on Schmitt's arm, the police report said. She said it was due to Hood grabbing her. Hood said Schmitt probably caused the bruising herself. Hood left with cuts on his eyebrow and his mouth, photos taken afterward show.
In a separate interview, Hood said he was confronted by Schmitt when he was at the Delta Gamma house with his date. Hood said Schmitt began shoving him and punching him in the face, and he left the residence.
The officer interviewed the roommate and two other witnesses, each stating different details of what happened.
One witness, whose name is redacted, told the officer Schmitt followed Hood as he left the house and continued to argue and yell at him. The witness told the officer she helped pull Schmitt away from Hood, and Schmitt’s sorority sisters held her down until she was calm.
When the altercation broke out, Schmitt and Hood ended up on the ground, the roommate told the officer.
Hood was told to leave approximately three times, the roommate told the officer, but had to be escorted out by the second witness. In a separate interview, the second witness told the officer he did not know who the primary aggressor was.
Schmitt and her lawyer, Tim Tobin, did not respond to requests for comment. Hood and his lawyer, Rory Brian Riley, did not respond to requests for comment.
Four days after the Feb. 11 event, an eruption of social media posts peddling rumors about the incident flooded ASU-specific corners of the web.
The catalyst for the social media outcry was a Feb. 15 Facebook post from Natacha Rambert, Hood’s mother, who reported the incident to ASU PD on Feb. 13. The post included explicit details of an alleged "racially motivated attack." The post went viral on Facebook and, at the time of publication, had 1,800 shares and 422 comments.
Members of the ASU community shared Rambert’s post across platforms such as Instagram and YikYak, an anonymous app that allows users to see any post made within a five-mile radius of their current location. Users were quick to call out Schmitt and Delta Gamma, echoing Rambert's allegations of racism and demanding Schmitt receive disciplinary action.
Several ASU Greek Life organizations issued statements on Instagram condemning racism and hate.
What was added to the report a month later
Over a month after the incident, ASU PD Detective Rustin Standage reviewed the recorded interviews conducted by Officer Davis. Standage added two things in a supplemental narrative not found in the initial report: that one witness recalled Schmitt hitting Hood four to five times, and that Hood said Schmitt called him the N-word after he pushed her away.
Davis also wrote a supplementary narrative, including additional information from an interview with Schmitt where she said “Rambert was ‘harassing her on social media’ and ‘threatening to attack her publicly’ on social media.” Davis added Schmitt told Hood she and her roommate “were ‘dating’ in an attempt to get Hood to stop his actions” with the roommate.
The supplemental narrative was something Rambert has continually pushed for, both on social media and with ASU PD, after she read the initial report and believed it was missing details.
She wrote an email to ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson about missing details, including Schmitt calling him racial slurs, according to emails Rambert sent to The State Press. In the same email, Rambert asked to confirm the charges against Hood were dropped.
Thompson responded, confirming charges against Hood had been dropped “as predicted.” Additionally, he wrote in the email he was “disappointed in the lack of detail” and ordered a supplement be written to “fill in the missing pieces.”
Questions directed to Thompson were answered by ASU PD spokesperson Wolfe.
In response to questions about why mentions of a racial slur were not included in the initial report, Wolfe said in an email "Evidence and statements collected throughout the investigation have pointed to the assailant's personal relationship with the victim's date being the reason behind the assault."
Wolfe did not elaborate as to what Thompson meant when referencing the “lack of detail” or the “missing pieces” in his email, stating details and clarity were needed for the timeline of events.
Wolfe said ASU PD requesting another entity to conduct an independent investigation into its reporting processes is rare. Wolfe would not comment on the scope of the ongoing investigation.
Rambert sent another email to Thompson and other ASU officials Wednesday morning after waiting almost a month for a published supplement. Rambert wrote she requested the addendum multiple times after her initial email in March but had not received any notification of the progress.
“I had to literally threaten them this morning with a lawsuit for them to get me the addendum because they would not release it,” Rambert said in an interview with The State Press Wednesday afternoon. Later that afternoon, ASU PD released the supplemental narratives by detective Standage and responding Officer Davis.
“I’m beyond frustrated,” Rambert said. “I’m angry. It’s disgusting how they handled it.”
Reporter Andrea Ramirez contributed to this report.
Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.
Kristen Apolline Castillo is the community and culture editor for The State Press. She has been working for the publication for two years, where she also reported for the desk.