Video: Columbus Police address "speculation" surrounding Outlaws Saloon brawl
Columbus Police released a statement this morning addressing "speculation" surrounding the death of 23-year-old Marquis Brown, who officials say was assaulted early Sunday during a brawl at the local Outlaws Saloon.
Columbus Police said they were called to the "large fight" in the parking lot of the 6499 Veteran's Parkway bar around 3 a.m. that morning. They found Brown of Phenix City, a father of two young girls, unresponsive on the scene, according to the release.
He was rushed to Columbus Midtown Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead of blunt-force trauma to the head at 8 a.m. that morning, said Muscogee County Deputy Chief Coroner Freeman Worley.
Columbus Police Maj. Gil Slouchick said detectives have since spoken to more than 20 potential witness in the case and trying to make contact with twice as many. Several different accounts of the assault on Brown were reported to detectives, said police Sgt. Lance Deaton.
"One version had Brown being stomped and kicked in the head while he was on the ground," Deaton said. "Another had Brown being struck by a metal flashlight in the head, and still another had Brown being repeatedly struck in the head by a metal flashlight.
"None of these versions matched the physical evidence that the detectives were observing."
Police said Brown's body underwent an autopsy at the GBI Crime lab in Atlanta that indicated the following:
- Brown's head injury was ruled to be the type of wound that you would receive from your head striking a large, immovable flat object. This was determined by the type of external wound as well as the internal injuries to the front of Brown's brain.
- There was no physical evidence that Brown was ever struck by a flashlight or any other metal object.
- There was no physical evidence that Brown was ever kicked or struck in the head.
- There was no physical evidence that Brown was ever choked or strangled.
Slouchick said people sharing information they know to be untrue has impeded on the investigation and frustrated detectives. Many of the rumors are circulating on social media, often times Facebook.
"We're chasing leads and chasing things that someone has made up for whatever reason and put out on Facebook," he said. "That's taking resources away from doing the actual investigation and trying to get to the truth."
Police said the department normally doesn't release key facts in an ongoing investigation but felt it was necessary in this case in order to keep the slew of rumors at bay.
"We put some more information out then we normally put out, but we didn't put anything out that would interfere without case," Slouchick said. "We just put out what didn't happen."
Deaton said their statement was also given in "hopes of preventing any further violence from taking place." Some people have been threatened following the incident, Slouchick added.
"Some groups in the city seem intent on injecting race into this tragedy," Deaton said. "At this point the investigation has not uncovered any evidence to support the claim that race played a part in this tragedy."
Police reminded the public that the American judicial system is based on facts and evidence, not rumors and speculation.
"The family of Marquis Brown as well as the Columbus Police Department is asking for everyone to allow the investigators time to do their job," Deaton said. "Everyone wants to get to the truth."
The management and staff of Outlaws Saloon have been cooperating with all requests for interviews and in the turning over of their surveillance footage.
"Several videos of that night have been brought to the attention of the detectives," Deaton said. "However, we do not have any videos that actually show Brown being struck."
He asks that anyone that has video of the assault or witnessed the incident to contact Cpl. David Stokes at 706-225-4242 or the Robbery/Assault Unit at 706-653-3400.
— Sarah is a crime & safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.