DiMarzio advises UPs on incident

By Nancy Broten

No charges will be filed against a Northern Star photographer detained last Thursday by University Police during a disturbance near the West Lagoon, but charges against NIU student Greg Thomas will not be dropped.

The decisions were made by DeKalb County State’s Attorney Phil DiMarzio, who University Police contacted for advice in the matter.

White, 22, was detained by UPs Thursday night after refusing to leave the West Lagoon area where he was taking photographs of the disturbance occurring between police and a large group of students.

No charges were pressed against White and he was released early Friday morning with charges pending. University Police contacted DiMarzio “well into the day” Friday to obtain advice on whether to press charges against White, DiMarzio said.

“Our decision is that criminal charges, in the case of Mr. White, are not appropriate,” DiMarzio said Monday.

Northern Star adviser Jerry Thompson said, “I think it’s the right decision, and I’m glad the matter has been dropped.”

NIU Vice President for Student Affairs Jon Dalton said DiMarzio’s advice “will be helpful to clarify particular rights of the press which are rather unique to the incident.”

Dalton, who is conducting an investigation into the incident, said it is “routine” for UPs to turn over information to the state’s attorney with regard to possible charges of individuals. “The state’s attorney then determines whether the background information warrants charges,” Dalton said.

DiMarzio also advised UPs that charges UPs made against NIU student Greg Thomas are appropriate and they (state’s attorney office) will “prosecute that case as we would any other misdemeanor case.”

Thomas, 19, 715 Grant Towers South, was arrested early Friday morning at his dorm room where two UPs searched his room and found alcohol in his refrigerator, Thomas said. Thomas was arrested with one count of mob action and one count of acceptance of alcohol as a minor.

Although his bond was set at $1,000, he was released on his own recognizance and a court date has been set for April 24.

DiMarzio said his “office was not consulted about the search of a room,” but he did not believe a police department would violate the rights of an individual against illegal search and seizure.

“I have no reason to believe that is what happened,” DiMarzio said, referring to the search of Thomas’ room.