Nothing says celebration like getting tackled and punched in the face by security guards.
Last December, that's what happened to some University of Houston students who apparently thought it was okay to celebrate their football team's first conference championship in a decade. After the stadium stormed the field, guards were caught on tape chasing the happy students down and, in some cases, throwing them to the ground.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted one of those guards, who had lifted his fist and struck a guy twice in the face, on a misdemeanor assault charge.
On the video, the guard, Derrick Hicks, can be seen bear-hugging a student from behind and then awkwardly half-dancing with him in circles as the student is still cheering with his hands in the air. Then, the guard gets serious and whacks him in the face, knocking him to the ground — and then he punches him again.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
After the big win, the university promptly cut its contract with the security company, Contemporary Services Corporation.
Harris County DA's Office spokesman Jeff McShan said that office is still investigating other guards who were on the field that day. From several videos, it's clear that Derrick Hicks wasn't a lone rogue guard, and from the videos, it's not clear what the guards thought they could accomplish by singling out and throwing down a couple dozen students as hundreds rushed past them. In some footage, McShan said, some guards appeared to be enticing or challenging students to get on the field.
The DA's office's Public Integrity Unit is asking for the public's help if anyone has information on guards' or victims' identities, or any information about what the guards were yelling at students in the stands. In any case, it likely wasn't "Go Coogs."