A complaint of passengers on a boat yelling profanities directed at another boat with a flag supporting president Donald Trump on Monroe Lake ended Wednesday with the arrest of a man who wasn't on either boat.
Passengers of the reported boat, including IU football players, spoke out on Twitter about how they felt they were racially profiled.The concerns led other IU athletes to speak out on the matter as well, including IU basketball’s rising sophomore Trayce Jackson-Davis.
IU football defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald said on Twitter that boat officers responded to him and his friends out on the lake enjoying his girlfriend's birthday after passengers on another boat started racially profiling them.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement received a complaint from a 46-year-old woman who said people on another boat were screaming profanities and flipping her off, according to a report provided by law enforcement.
According to the DNR incident report, the woman told Indiana Conservation Officer Kaley McDonald there were approximately 23 people on board, noting they were mostly Black men with a few white women.
According to the report, the woman told McDonald the boat approached hers a couple of times and the passengers said, “Fuck Trump! Fuck you and your kids. Your kids are ugly.”
McDonald and ICO David Moss waited for the boat to dock and then boarded to interview its passengers.
One of the passengers interviewed was Andrew Hartman, who told McDonald they did shout at the boat and flip them off, but the boat with the Trump flag did the same to them first. Hartman said the other boat started the argument by saying they didn’t want them on the lake, according to the report.
During their interviews with the passengers, a witness from a third boat told the officers the passengers of the reported boat they were responding to didn’t start the argument.
Carson Compton, an acquaintance of the witness and a white man, boarded the boat to ask officers what was going on. McDonald said Compton, 23, was intoxicated and wasn’t involved in the original incident.
Compton’s friend Henry Willhite said in an interview that Moss physically shoved Compton down the ramp and pushed him really hard.
Willhite said the third boat he was on with Compton and the witness yelled similar phrases and flipped off the boat with the Trump flag, too. But, Willhite, Compton and the witness' boat was not reported.
“But my boat was filled with a bunch of white kids,” Willhite said. “So that's why we were like, we both did the same thing yet we're not getting in trouble for it.”
Moss asked Compton to leave three times and then escorted him off the boat and asked him and his friends to leave the area or he would be arrested, according to the incident report. After leaving the boat, Compton continued to yell at the officers, calling them racists.
“I think he was just mad because he (the officer) got called a racist and he probably looked like an idiot,” Willhite said. “I mean, I don't know if he's racist or not, but like, I mean, it just definitely felt like discrimination.”
Willhite said he felt obligated to stay and watch the officers investigate because of the reality of prejudice against Black people within law enforcement.
“I think we all just thought we should stay here and observe,” Willhite said. “If something bad's going to happen, we need to intervene if we can, and if not, at least be there to be a witness so that they don't get away with it.”
After the officers started threatening to arrest Compton again, Willhite said he and Compton started walking to their car. He said they were about 10 yards from their car when the officers ran up and arrested Compton. Willhite understood why the officers would've arrested Compton since he was yelling on the boat, but said he was confused about why they arrested him while they were leaving.
“The fact that they said 'leave or we're going to arrest you' and we did leave,” Willhite said. “And while we're in the process of leaving, and he's not saying anything, then they come arrest him.”
Moss arrested Compton on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Willhite said he was arrested before they had even administered a breathalyzer test.
“I don’t care, just fucking arrest me then,” Compton yelled at officers while in the parking lot, according to the report. He blew a 0.176 into the breathalyzer and was transported to Monroe County jail, where he blew a 0.206. He was released at 3 a.m. Thursday.
Willhite recorded Compton’s arrest and posted it on Twitter. Many of the passengers of the other boat shared the video with their thoughts on the matter.
IU Athletics did not allow student-athletes to comment on the incident.
Willhite said passengers from the other boat direct messaged him on Twitter to ask him to thank Compton. He said Compton doesn’t regret a single thing.
Willhite said he wasn’t surprised when he found out that the complaint had been called in on the boat full of Black people and not his.
“That's what makes me feel like it's discrimination and not necessarily just on the officers' part,” Willhite said. “But by the people who called the cops.”