The family of a Smithville man beaten to death in 2013 in a parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kyle Van Winkle died after he was beaten outside the stadium during a December 2013 game.
An Independence man, Joshua T. Bradley, recently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Van Winkle’s death and was sentenced to five years of probation.
According to court documents previously filed in the criminal case, Van Winkle had gone to the game with a group of people. He left the game early and went to the parking lot, where he got into a vehicle that looked like one driven by someone in his group.
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When the owner of that vehicle returned and discovered Van Winkle inside, a dispute ensued, and another man knocked Van Winkle to the ground with a punch and hit him several more times while he was on the ground.
The suit was filed on behalf of Van Winkle’s widow, Jennifer Van Winkle, and their son, who was just a few weeks old when his father was killed.
“The Van Winkle family has suffered a tragic loss and will now seek justice for Kyle with the ultimate goal of making Arrowhead Stadium a safer place for all to come and enjoy professional football,” the law firm of White, Graham, Buckley & Carr said in a written statement.
The Chiefs declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, while the confrontation was going on in the parking lot, there were no security guards, police officers or any other stadium personnel in the vicinity.
According to the suit, other than Van Winkle, none of the others involved in the altercation had tickets to the game but were in the parking lot “partying” and watching the game on television.
“The assault upon the decedent, Kyle Van Winkle, occurred because of the lack of adequate security to monitor, protect and control crowds at Arrowhead Stadium, and specifically the parking lots,” the lawsuit stated.
Included in the suit is a list of 60 incidents of violence reported in and around Arrowhead Stadium from 2000 to when Van Winkle was assaulted in 2013.
The suit alleges that by encouraging tailgating in the parking lot on game days and allowing people to “drink alcohol and party,” whether or not they have tickets to the game, the team “fosters an environment in which confrontation, assaults and other related behaviors routinely take place and of which defendant Kansas City Chiefs are aware.”
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.