RICHARD WALKER RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Charmaine Voss, at her home in Kalihi yesterday, pointed to a video of her husband, James, being held by Las Vegas police at Friday's Warrior football game against UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium. On Voss' lap was grandson Chad Owens Jr., 4 1/2 months.
Video shows chokehold
A UH fan accusing the
Las Vegas police of excessive
force denies provoking an attack
Videotape indicates police used a dangerous chokehold during the arrest of a Honolulu man at the Hawaii-UNLV football game at Las Vegas last Friday.
Also, two witnesses said the man in question, James Voss, stepfather of UH player Chad Owens, provoked police by attempting to strike an officer.
"I saw him go after the Metro (Las Vegas policeman) with a forearm," Clifton Alapa said. "They took him down after that. He was down for a while."
Sam Morris, a Las Vegas Sun photographer, also said he saw Voss' "arm come around" a moment before police apprehended him.
"He wasn't being very cooperative," Morris said.
Voss, who was jailed and charged with battery on a police officer and inciting a riot, denies taking a swing at anyone.
"That forearm stuff is bogus," said Voss, who was detained until Sunday morning and has a court date in Las Vegas on Oct. 13.
Voss' wife, Charmaine, said she got between her husband and a police officer confronting him, and anything physical Voss did was to defend her.
"They grabbed me and he was coming to my aid," Charmaine Voss said. "The next thing I knew he was on the ground and they were hitting and choking him."
Las Vegas Metropolitan and UNLV police both said yesterday the case is the other's responsibility.
The fight was one of dozens at Friday's game, which resulted in three arrests, one person hospitalized and at least eight ejections from the stadium.
Yesterday, Charmaine Voss played a videotape for reporters that showed police pulling James Voss to his feet while an officer had his arms around Voss' neck.
Alapa, a Las Vegas police officer who is also the father of UH linebacker Keani Alapa, said he was about 20 yards away from where Voss was apprehended.
Alapa said the officer had Voss in a dangerous chokehold.
"That hold is usually out of bounds. It's not taught in the academies," Alapa said. "It's very dangerous. With the circumstances, the officer had to make a judgment and they did what they felt they had to do. But (Voss) was just being very verbal (before the forearm), so I question that."
Voss said yesterday his neck is still sore and he has headaches and difficulty sleeping. The family is looking for legal representation.
"My husband felt like he was going to die," Charmaine Voss said.
James Voss, who was wearing a UH jersey with his stepson's name and number on it, said he was continually taunted and challenged to fight during the game by a UNLV fan.
"It looked like he'd been involved in something with some other fans," Morris said. "It looked like he might have thrown a punch. Right after those pictures (including the one on page B1) he ended up down on the ground."
Morris, who does not consider himself a UNLV fan, said the fighting Friday was the worst he'd seen at a sports event in 4 1/2 years of photographing football games at Sam Boyd Stadium and 11 years as a news photographer.
"Some things were started by UNLV fans, some by Hawaii fans," he said. "I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was worse than the last XFL game."
Alapa said the way the estimated 10,000 Hawaii fans were spread around the stadium caused many of the fights.
"The seating was terrible," he said. "It created a bad situation."
Alapa is an 11-year Las Vegas School District Police veteran. He works mostly in gang prevention.
He said in his opinion excessive force was used on Voss.
"I thought so," he said. "But when you're in Las Vegas, you do as the Las Vegas Police Department says. The Metro cops are the gods."
UNLV athletic director Michael Hamrick was not available for comment yesterday.
His assistant, Susie Smith, said she did not know if Hamrick was aware of Voss' case, but that he is concerned about violence at UNLV games.
"He's setting up meetings to rectify the situation," Smith said.