TCU coach Gary Patterson kicked KaVontae Turpin off the football team on Tuesday, days after Turpin was arrested in Fort Worth on a charge of assault on his girlfriend.
Turpin also had an incident last March in which he had been charged with battery against who is believed to be the same girlfriend. The March incident is what has raised the most questions as TCU said the football staff didn’t know about the entirety of the incident.
Patterson brought a document to his news conference Tuesday, saying it showed the football staff only knew Turpin was charged with criminal property damage last March in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In a statement to the Star-Telegram, a TCU spokesperson said, “The football staff reviewed a commercial website that provides arrest records, but that account was incomplete. Our team did not do enough to get the full story. We would not have allowed Turpin to play had we known about an outstanding arrest warrant.”
Patterson was adamant he and the coaching staff had no information regarding a battery charge against Turpin that was filed the same day in the Dona Ana Magistrate Court Las Cruces.
“I’m not trying to cover anything up,” Patterson said. “I feel bad because the kid, KaVontae, football is his life. Bottom line to it, though, is the health of a lady is her life and you can’t cross that line. So, today, I lose on both counts.”
Patterson’s comments fell in line with a statement released by the university earlier in the day.
“The football staff was aware there was an incident in New Mexico, but not that charges included an alleged battery,” TCU said. “The publicly available information they reviewed at the time only showed a charge related to property damage. We did not know until yesterday that his legal issues were unresolved.”
The Las Cruces police department doesn’t know how TCU wouldn’t have known about the battery charges. All of the charges were filed on the same day — a battery charge, a criminal damage to the property of a household member and interference with communications.
“The criminal complaint contains the information relevant to the arrest and, obviously, contains information on both charges (the battery against a HHM [household member] and the criminal damage to property),” said Dan Trujillo, the Las Cruces police department public information officer.
“It was all filed the same day and on the same complaint that was sent to [the Star-Telegram]. Anyone who would have requested the criminal complaint would have received the same document that [the Star-Telegram] received.”
The Star-Telegram obtained a copy of the criminal complaint that detailed each charge with Turpin allegedly bruising the arms and ripping the shirt of his girlfriend, as well as breaking her cell phone and punching a hole in a door.
The Star-Telegram found the information regarding Turpin’s arrest by going to the website, nmcourts.gov, and following the “find a case” link. Entering Turpin’s name pulls up his case file that lists all three charges from March 15, 2018.
Upon seeing this, the Star-Telegram filed an open records request for the criminal complain/arrest report on Turpin. That’s where additional details such as Turpin getting physical with his girlfriend and punching a hole in a door were revealed.
Patterson said the football staff obtained something other than the criminal complaint, later revealed to be from the commercial website.
“This is what we pulled off the website,” Patterson said, waving the sheet of paper multiple times during his news conference. “We went to the website. This is what we were given. This is what was sent to us.”
Late Tuesday night, a TCU spokesperson told the Star-Telegram that the website it used to look up Turpin’s arrest was rapsheets.org.
“The staff has acknowledged they did not do enough to understand the entire situation,” TCU said in a statement to the Star-Telegram. “We are reviewing expectations to make certain we have more complete information in the future.”
Patterson went through the timeline of events from when the staff discovered Turpin had been involved in an incident –
▪ Turpin informed Patterson he’d be spending spring break with his girlfriend in New Mexico, something that pleased Patterson at the time.
▪ Turpin was late returning from spring break and another player leaked the information Turpin had been involved in an incident. Patterson had a staff member look into it and only saw the criminal property damage from the third-party website.
“This is the information that I had and it said criminal property damage,” Patterson said, again referencing the document. “It didn’t say anything about anybody else, a woman, it didn’t say anything about anybody.”
Patterson didn’t know the exact date his staff obtained the information about the criminal property damage, but said it would’ve been shortly after spring break.
▪ Patterson didn’t discipline Turpin for the criminal property damage, believing it wasn’t too serious. Patterson said he would’ve liked Turpin to be more upfront with him about the incident and the battery charge.
“That would’ve been good to know because it probably would’ve been handled a long time ago if we would’ve known something like that,” Patterson said. “Obviously I wish I knew more.”
▪ Patterson said the staff didn’t know Turpin missed a court date in July, or even had one.
“Only one person would know that information,” Patterson said, referring to Turpin.
▪ Once Patterson found out Turpin had been arrested last weekend, he immediately suspended him. Once he discovered more about the March incident on Monday, he made the decision to dismiss him from the team.
Patterson met with Turpin on Monday, but hadn’t met with him since the decision had been made to kick him off the team.
“Our players are like our kids, just like my own sons, but the bottom line to it is if they cross the line then there’s always a penalty to pay,” Patterson said. “KaVontae will not be allowed to ever be on our football team anymore, so that’s the way you do things.
“It’s not something that can be tolerated.”