University Police arrested a part-time parking patrolman Tuesday after he allegedly hit a student during an altercation in the Sun Dome parking lot.
Larry Pearson, 46, was fired and charged with misdemeanor-level battery, UP Sgt. Mike Klingebiel said. He was not charged with a felony because the injury sustained to the student’s lip was not serious, Klingebiel said.
According to the police report, Pearson, who is black, punched the student in the mouth with a closed fist after the student allegedly used a racial slur during the altercation.
Klingebiel said the student suffered a cut lit and refused medical attention.
Frank Granda, operations coordinator at Parking and Transportation Services, said the student had received an “excessive amount” of parking citations and as a result had his car immobilized. Granda said the student came to the parking office Tuesday and paid all his fees, at which point a patrolman was dispatched to remove the clamp from the wheel of his car.
Granda said the patrolman requested assistance, and at that point, Pearson arrived. After the clamp was removed, the student claimed the car had been scratched, Granda said.
“I believe the customer was reporting that there were some scratches on the rim, and, from there, the altercation escalated,” he said.
The student’s name could not be disclosed because the investigation is still being conducted by the State Attorney’s office, Klingebiel said.
Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said Pearson has been fired because of the action he took against the student.
“(Hitting someone) is not justified, no matter what kind of verbal abuse took place,” Sylvester said.
He said, however, the Equal Opportunity Committee would be analyzing the situation, and the decision to fire Pearson could be reversed.
“If the EOC comes back with something different, we may reconsider,” he said.
“But for now, he is terminated.”
Rhonda Pierce, an administrative assistant from the EOC, said a complaint has not yet been filed.
She said though the EOC can’t begin to analyze a case until a the complaint is filed, she understood that Sylvester was compiling facts about the case for the committee to review.