Football player not charged with assault

The Whitman County Prosecutor announced Monday that he decided not to charge WSU football safety Shalom Luani with assault, contrary to police recommendations.

The Pullman Police department recommended second-degree assault charges against Luani after its investigation into an incident Aug. 24 in which he allegedly broke a man’s nose at Domino’s Pizza.

Prosecutor Denis Tracy wrote in a statement that he concluded there was not enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Luani did not act in self-defense. He did, however, write that there was enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Luani hit WSU student Kyle Medina once in the nose.

Tracy stated that the reports and video show “there was pushing and pulling back and forth inside the pizza place,” and that Medina started the physical contact between himself and Luani. Luani then pushed Medina’s face, Tracy wrote, and walked outside.

Medina and several other men then followed Luani outside to confront him, Tracy wrote, though there is no video of this. He wrote that according to witnesses, at least four men confronted Luani and others were verbally aggressive.

During this conflict, Luani hit Medina and possibly other men. Luani was also pushed to the ground, according to witnesses, and may have had his head pushed into a car. His shirt was ripped, and he suffered multiple head and face injuries and a concussion, according to a medical report.

Luani posted on Facebook shortly after the incident, Aug. 24, suggesting that there was more to the story, and football Head Coach Mike Leach also maintained that Luani had been jumped by several men.

“I know what happened made some of you think wrong of me,” Luani wrote in the post, “but that doesn’t change who I am … and if you know me you would know I would never fight over something like that. There are two sides to every story.”

Tracy wrote that he concluded there was enough evidence to prove Medina assaulted Luani by grabbing him, and that Luani assaulted Medina by pushing him back, but both parties requested that charges not be filed against the other.

Reporting by Cody Cottier