Domestic violence accusation led to Martez Harrison’s dismissal from UMKC basketball team

Former UMKC basketball player Martez Harrison (left)
Former UMKC basketball player Martez Harrison (left) Special to The Star

Former UMKC basketball player Martez Harrison was accused of domestic violence against his girlfriend, which led to a Title IX investigation that resulted in his dismissal from the team and a one-year suspension from the university.

Before he was kicked off the team Monday, Harrison had been indefinitely suspended from appearing in UMKC basketball games starting the day after a police report was filed Nov. 27. Tuesday, he was told to leave campus.

“The University determined that Martez Harrison violated the university’s Title IX policy by committing dating/intimate partner violence and was suspended from the university for one year as a result of the determination,” said John Martellaro, university spokesperson.

Title IX is a federal law that protects against gender-based discrimination and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual assault.

A UMKC police document naming Harrison as a suspect says officers responded around 11 a.m. Nov. 27 to Oak Place Apartments on the UMKC campus on a report that “might have something to do with a kidnapping of a child and someone being held against her will.”

Harrison could not be reached for comment.

The alleged victim, according to police, said Harrison choked, slapped and bit her early the morning of Nov. 27 and blocked the bedroom door to keep her from leaving. Later that morning, according to police, she said Harrison left the apartment with the couple’s young daughter and threatened to drive off a bridge with her.

Police later talked with Harrison, who said he had argued with the woman but said he never struck or pushed her in any way. Harrison told police he did leave the campus residence with their child but said he would never do anything to hurt his daughter.

According to police, Harrison was taken into custody and released with a warning that he and the woman could end up in jail if there was another disturbance.

Martellaro says the UMKC police report has been sent to the Kansas City Municipal Court. According to the court, the report had not been received by the city prosecutor for review as of Tuesday night. No criminal charges have been filed.

The one-year suspension, according to Martellaro, means Harrison is prohibited from living in university housing or enrolling in university classes.

Upon the initial announcement of Harrison’s suspension from the basketball team, UMKC coach Kareem Richardson said Harrison’s situation was not a legal matter.

“No, just some breaking athletic policies and conduct things — nothing that will get him in too big of trouble,” Richardson said Nov. 29, two days after the police report was made. “Hopefully we can get this thing resolved in one way or another soon.”

Harrison was dismissed from the basketball program Monday.

“His conduct fell far short of what we expect from those who represent our men’s basketball program and university,” Richardson said in a release Monday. “After gathering more facts from Title IX office officials during his suspension, and further discussions with athletics department personnel, the decision was made to permanently remove him from our program.”

On Tuesday, Richardson said he had spoken too quickly when he said the situation was not something that would get Harrison in too much trouble.

“That wasn’t the best choice of words because the investigation was ongoing and that was based on the limited information I had at the time,” Richardson said in a statement to The Star. “I’ve learned from this not to make statements until all the facts are known.”

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

Ashley Scoby: 816-234-4875, @AshleyScoby