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FSU, Police Squabble Over Fans’ Mayhem

December 3, 1996

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ As groundskeepers set to work mending the fan-damaged football field at Florida State, school officials went to work mending relations with local police.

Following Florida State’s 24-21 win over on Florida on Saturday, thousands of fans poured onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium, tore up sod and toppled goal posts, which were still down Tuesday.

But Leon County Sheriff’s Department deputies, who were in charge of guarding the field Saturday, say it amounted to an extremely dangerous situation that might have been avoided. They say FSU officials should have let them post more police on the field.

Maj. Keith Daws, who supervised 80 deputies posted on the field Saturday, said he was still angry about the situation.

``We knew going in we were going to be over our heads and told (FSU officials) that,″ Daws said.

FSU officials insisted that they had enough officers on the field to adequately protect fans without causing an angry confrontation between fans and police.

``What would you have done differently, had officers with dogs? Had students beat with batons?″ asked FSU spokesman Frank Murphy, in response to the charges.

Seven injuries, all minor, were reported to FSU officials. Daws said it could have been much worse.

For big games in the past, FSU has posted more than 200 officers on the field, some accompanied by police dogs, to guard the field and goal posts from overzealous fans. For this game, there were no dogs and about half the usual number of officers.

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