U student charged in rec center fight

Tim Sturrock

A University senior was charged Thursday with third-degree assault after he allegedly punched another student in the mouth during a basketball game at the University rec center last May.

According to the criminal complaint, James Terry Smith Harris became upset after a fellow player bumped into him and knocked him to the floor. Harris accused the man of hitting him deliberately and then allegedly punched the man in the mouth, knocking out two of his teeth. Doctors were not able to reattach the man’s teeth.

A witness told police the victim hadn’t done anything to provoke Harris, and several people had to stop Harris from assaulting him further.

Harris, 24, said that the victim continually hit him during the game. After telling the man several times to stop bumping into him, Harris said, the victim tripped him – a move he thinks was meant to prove a point. After yelling at the victim, Harris said, the victim pulled back his fist, but Harris struck first.

Harris faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In other police news:

Police arrested an 18-year-old woman at the Econo Lodge at 2500 University Ave. S.E. after she allegedly offered and agreed to perform a sexual act on an undercover Minneapolis police officer.

Police also arrested a 21-year-old man for promoting prostitution.

Two men set up a house charge in October at the Bakers Square restaurant across from the Econo Lodge, racking up an $800 bill in a one-week period, according to a police report.

Employees didn’t check identification and have not been contacted by the two men, the report said.

Eric Perkins, manager of the Days Inn located next door to the restaurant, said that two men matching the description of the men who ate at the Bakers Square rented a room at his hotel. He said one man showed identification but that he still hasn’t received payment for the room. Perkins said he plans to file a report soon.

Tim Sturrock welcomes comments at [email protected]