Auburn Fan Says He was Hurt by Law Enforcement After Iron Bowl

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By Ashley Thompson

An Auburn football fan is charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing after he stormed the field with thousands of other fans after the Iron Bowl.

He says he wanted to help the Tigers celebrate victory, but says he was met with excessive force by law enforcement.

If you weren't actually at the Iron Bowl, you probably saw on television the thousands of fans that rushed the field after the game. The SEC even fined the university five thousand dollars because of it.

But for one fan, that decision to rush the field has created serious consequences.

21-year-old Britt Thomas says he got caught up in the moment after Auburn beat Alabama at the last second of the Iron Bowl and rushed the field. But he says he was met by two Lee County sheriff's deputies and two Tallapoosa County sheriff's deputies.

"I was told to get back over into the stands or I was going to jail," says Thomas. "And I got back over into the stands and then was pulled back out of the stands."

When he was pulled back out of the stands, Thomas says he was forced to the ground by the four sheriff's deputies.

"He then took me to go in the tunnel and for whatever reason, stopped about 10 to 15 feet in front of the tunnel and threw me on the ground and about five seconds later, I had about five officers on top of me."

He was then taken to jail. Thomas says he still has bruises on his torso and arms from the incident and a large scrape from his pelvis to his shoulder. His grandfather Ray, who was at the game with him, says he didn't see the incident and was concerned when he couldn't find Thomas after the game.

"I had looked for him for three hours," says Ray Thomas. I had no idea where he was at and so I just went home and left my phone by my bed and he called about 1:00 AM and told me he was in jail. I never in my wildest dreams would have believed that he had got arrested for doing what Jay Jacobs referred to as a family reunion."

Thomas is being charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing but his attorney Julian McPhillips says he believes the charges should be dropped.

"I'm only thinking these guys must have been disgruntled Alabama fans who were just not very happy about the turn of events," McPhillips says. "It was gross excessive force."

Both Thomas and his grandfather say Thomas was not drinking at the game and was not intoxicated, although the deputies say he was.

Thomas says he was not offered a breathalyzer or a sobriety test.

We spoke with Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett who denies the claim that excessive force was used.

Thomas has now filed a claim of his own against the Lee County and Tallapoosa County Sherriff's Department for several charges including police brutality and excessive force.

The trial is set for April 8th, 2014 at 9AM at the Opelika Justice Center.

 

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Denise said on Tuesday, Apr 8 at 6:59 AM

And why are we just now hearing about this? Who cares? He had to know storming the field was wrong and maybe got out of line. More important and newsworthy stuff out there than some college kid who got roughed up breaking the law. RME's.

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