CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is defending police after some West Liberty University students have said unnecessary force was used at the Embassy Suites Saturday night.
Following the school's West Virginia Conference championship win, West Liberty Athletic Director James Watson, 66, his son Brian, 28, and two other West Liberty student-athletes were arrested after what one hotel employee described as an "out of control" celebration.
"First and foremost, I hope people will understand that the Charleston Police Department did not ask to be called to the Embassy Suites, but were called by people at the hotel when they felt the situation was beyond their control," Jones said in a written statement.
James Watson is charged with obstructing an officer and battery of an officer. Brian Watson is facing charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing on foot and obstructing an officer.
Tyler Tucci, 22, who plays football for West Liberty, and Gabrielle Davis, 19, who is a volleyball player, according to the university's website, were both charged with obstructing.
Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said hotel security called police for backup after "they had lost control of the situation."
Police were met by nearly 200 people in the hotel lobby, according to Cooper, who said the crowd "smelled of liquor, were belligerent and aggressive toward police."
Jones said in his statement that Charleston police called for backup "in hopes that the crowd then might disperse peacefully." About 15 officers came to the hotel, Cooper said.
"After reading the police reports about the incident, including the accounts of several independent eyewitnesses, I stand completely behind the actions of the Charleston Police Department," Jones said.
While trying to stop police from arresting his son, James Watson stepped in front of Cpl. D. Nikocevic and then shoved him with both arms in his chest, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Senior Patrolman M.Z. Blackledge wrote in a complaint that Brian Watson had an alcoholic beverage in his hand and was screaming profanities at hotel patrons.
Police say Brian Watson tried to flee the area while his dad tried to stop the arrest. Police grabbed him by his arm and eventually got him on the ground, where he was handcuffed, the complaint states.
Tucci wrote on Twitter that Charleston Police had "abused their authority by assaulting 4 kids and arresting a good honest man for no reason."
Police used pepper spray on Tucci, who Cooper said resisted arrest.