Josh Jackson calls his off-court issues ‘old business’
University of Kansas men’s basketball star Josh Jackson allegedly threatened physical violence against a KU women’s player while vandalizing her car in December, according to an affidavit released Thursday by the Douglas County District Court.
The affidavit details an ugly scene outside the Yacht Club bar and restaurant in Lawrence that led to a charge of misdemeanor criminal property damage against Jackson and more than $3,000 in damage to a 2016 Ford Fusion driven by women’s player McKenzie Calvert.
Calvert told police that at one point Jackson yelled for her to get out of the car “and that he would beat her ass,” and she and two other witnesses said he banged on the driver’s window.
Members of both the KU men’s and women’s teams were at a party at the Yacht Club in the early morning hours of Dec. 9. Witness statements to police confirm and bring to light new details about what The Star has reported about what happened inside the bar and outside, where Jackson allegedly kicked Calvert’s car. Jackson was charged Feb. 24.
“As we already knew, some of our men’s and women’s student-athletes made some poor decisions that night,” Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, said in an email. “The release of this information today does not change our understanding of the events of that evening. As we’ve said, we have already handled the internal Athletics discipline regarding this incident.”
A Title IX investigation into the matter has been requested. After no one from either team reported the incident to the university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, said Tim Calvert, McKenzie’s father, he requested in late January that an investigation take place. The office oversees Title IX investigations.
Title IX is a federal law that protects against gender discrimination, including sexual harassment.
According to the sworn affidavit signed by Lawrence police detective Lance Flachsbarth, the altercation between Calvert and Jackson on Dec. 9 began at a party inside the bar and restaurant at 540 Wisconsin St., when Calvert threw a drink on Jackson’s teammate, Lagerald Vick.
The affidavit describes what happened as told to police by several witnesses, including two members of the KU women’s basketball team. Players Caelynn Manning-Allen and Eboni Watts were interviewed on Jan. 30, nearly two months after Calvert’s car was damaged and three days after The Star requested the police report from Lawrence police.
Police officer Scott Chamberlain talked to Calvert, 21, at the scene. Nearly four hours later, at 5:46 a.m., the officer interviewed Jackson, 20, in a third-floor study room at McCarthy Hall, the men’s basketball dorm, with head coach Bill Self present.
Caelynn Manning-Allen told police that at the party Calvert was staring at Vick, her former boyfriend, and said something to him. She then threw the drink and left through the front door of the bar.
Manning-Allen said Jackson “angrily questioned Calvert” and followed her. Jackson and Calvert had a verbal exchange, Manning-Allen said, and Calvert yelled back at Jackson once she reached the gravel lot across the street.
Manning-Allen said she stood in front of Jackson to try to “calm him,” and he walked back inside the bar. Moments later, she said, Jackson, Vick and others left the bar and walked to their vehicle, which was in the same lot as Calvert’s. She said Calvert had her door open and was yelling at Jackson.
Jackson walked past Calvert’s car and Manning-Allen said Calvert said something to Jackson, who stopped and walked to the back of the car. Manning-Allen said Jackson then walked to the driver’s side window and smacked it.
Manning-Allen said she got in front of Jackson and grabbed his arms, and then Jackson kicked the driver’s door. Manning-Allen said she pulled Jackson away and didn’t see him damage the left rear tail light.
According to the affidavit, Jackson said he walked to Calvert’s car after she threw the drink on Vick and left the bar, and asked why she was there and why she hadn’t left. Jackson said he kicked the left rear quarter panel of Calvert’s car, just above the wheel well, one time. He told Chamberlain he did not believe he had damaged the car and also said several other people were around the car, some throwing rocks.
The second women’s player interviewed, Eboni Watts, said she was Calvert’s roommate. Watts also said she saw Calvert throw the drink on Vick and yell at Jackson as he followed her out of the bar. She, too, said Manning-Allen tried to hold Jackson back, according to the affidavit.
Watts told police she got into Calvert’s car and Calvert started to back up but stopped when she saw Jackson leave the bar. Watts said Jackson ran toward the car; she got out and told Calvert to leave. Watts said Jackson banged on the driver’s window and yelled at Calvert.
According to the affidavit, Watts said Jackson kicked the driver’s door twice, near the handle, and that he kicked the tail light as he walked away.
Calvert also was interviewed on Jan. 30. She told police Vick looked at her while dancing with his girlfriend “as if he were taunting her.” At closing time, Calvert said, Vick looked at her near the entrance and smiled, which prompted her to throw the drink.
According to the affidavit, Calvert said she heard someone say, “Hey bitch,” as she left the bar. She said she turned around and saw Josh Jackson was 8 to 10 feet from her. Police asked Calvert if any of the drink got on Jackson and she said no, that Jackson wasn’t in the area when she threw the drink on Vick.
Vick was found by a University of Kansas investigation in January 2016 to have more than likely hit Calvert several times in the arm and kicked her in the face in December 2015.
Calvert also told police Jackson had something in his hand that she thought was a bottle, and said she told Jackson she would call police if he threw something. Calvert told police Jackson looked angry and stepped toward her. She walked away and said Manning-Allen was trying to hold back Jackson, who followed her to the car.
Once in the parking lot, Calvert told police, she got in the car and was joined by Watts. Calvert said she put the car in reverse but saw Jackson standing behind the car in her backup camera. Calvert told police she couldn’t pull forward and didn’t want to run over Jackson, so she put the car in park.
Calvert told police she next heard a loud noise and her driver’s side tail light was broken. She said Watts got out of the car and heard Manning-Allen yelling at Jackson, telling him to calm down.
Calvert said Manning-Allen then got between Jackson and the car and Jackson “jumped up and kicked the driver’s door.”
A damage estimate of $2,991.81 was given to police Dec. 12, according to the affidavit. Flachsbarth contacted the body shop Feb. 6 and was told the total repair cost was $3,150.45, which included $1,127.45 for the driver’s door and left tail lamp assembly.
The affidavit, which led to a misdemeanor charge of vandalism against Jackson, says Chamberlain saw a dent in the center of the driver’s door, the left rear tail light cover broken with pieces on the ground and the right front windshield cracked with several small impact marks.
Jackson was not charged with felony criminal damage in excess of $1,000, according to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, because the prosecutor’s office could not prove all the damage to the door and tail light was caused by Jackson “due to other unidentifiable individual(s) damaging the vehicle.”
His arraignment is scheduled for April 12.
Soon after he was charged, Jackson issued a statement saying he was sorry and that he offered to pay for any damage “that I directly caused.” He said then that, “I am anxious to resolve this and focus on school and basketball.”
In a separate matter, Jackson is scheduled to appear March 27 in Lawrence Municipal Court for three traffic violations after he was cited for backing into a car on campus and not reporting it to police. He was suspended for one game, the team’s Big 12 tournament opener last week.
On Thursday in Tulsa, where KU opens the NCAA Tourmament against UC Davis Friday night, Jackson called his legal issues “old business.”
“I felt like I made a couple mistakes that definitely could have been avoided,” Jackson said. “Small mistakes. But nothing I can do about it now. Just not make the same mistakes again.”
Self referenced the date of the Yacht Club incident while answering another question, saying: “What’s transpired obviously happened over three months ago, and so anything that’s been written or said certainly is old hat. And I think our guys have heard enough. I think it’s water off their back.”
In the months since Dec. 9, Tim Calvert has said he tried to talk with university officials about what he perceived as unfair treatment for his daughter, who was disciplined by her coach after her part in what happened at the Yacht Club. But he said he was told: “Your daughter’s an adult, talk to her.”
This week, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said athletic officials wanted to meet with Tim Calvert, but that the father had yet to agree to such a meeting. Officials, according to Zenger’s comments to the Lawrence Journal World, want to discuss his concerns.
Calvert, however, said he didn’t hear from Zenger’s office until last week, three months after the discipline. Calvert was out of town on business and wasn’t able to schedule anything in the time the university allotted. He said he wants to follow through with the meeting but that it wouldn’t happen until after spring break.
“The answers we were seeking in December when we first contacted them are the same answers being sought today,” Calvert told The Star this week. “All we are trying to do is get answers and see why they did what they did.”