Kevin Furey’s parents didn’t want him to transfer to Temple. They were willing to bear the burden of Catholic University’s higher costs for what they felt was a better atmosphere for their son.
However, Furey had friends at Temple and thought he would enjoy the North Philadelphia university more than Catholic in Washington, D.C. His parents relented and let him transfer.
Today, Furey wishes he never made the move. He now faces serious criminal charges and was permanently expelled from Temple for possessing a weapon and disorderly conduct. Furey believes he wrongfully charged and suffered injuries at the hands of a Philadelphia Police officer.
On April 5, 2008, Furey, a former finance major, left one of his two jobs and drove his mother’s car to Temple. He was going to hang out with his friends.
They went to a party on the 1800 block of Diamond Street, and then went to a friend’s house on the 1700 block of Monument Street, where they watched TV and ordered Chinese food.
At some point, Furey’s friend John Fisher locked himself out of his bedroom. They tried using credit cards to open the door, but nothing worked.
Around 3 a.m., Furey remembered he had a machete in the trunk of his mother’s car. He left it there after landscaping his parent’s three-acre home.
He went to his car to retrieve the machete in order to pry open Fisher’s door.
Exactly what happened next is in dispute, but it ended with Furey sitting in a hospital in handcuffs, facing charges of assaulting a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of an instrument of crime with intent.
Furey said he was standing at the trunk of the car retrieving the machete, when he heard someone call out to him from across the street. He said he saw a small group of young men walking toward him. They asked him what he had in his hand.
“None of your business,” Furey said.
They asked him again.
Furey said one of the men in the group pulled a gun when the group saw the machete.
He dropped the machete and said the man with the gun and several of his friends jumped on him, knocking his head against the pavement.
Furey struggled against the man trying to subdue him. Seconds later, a Campus Police officer showed up and held Furey down until he could be handcuffed. Then, Furey said he was dragged into a Campus Police car.
The man with the gun was Travis Wolfe, an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer from the 22nd District and recent Temple graduate. The other people in the group were Colin Anderson and Doug Segars, both Temple students, and Stephen Robinson, who has since joined the police academy.
Wolfe’s story, to which he testified in court and at a University Disciplinary Committee hearing, isn’t the same story Furey told.
Wolfe said in court he was in a vehicle, driving down the block, when he heard someone shouting. He said he rolled down the window of his vehicle and heard Furey shouting. He said he saw something metallic, which he thought was a gun handle, in Furey’s waistband.
Wolfe said he called out to Furey and asked him what was in his pants. Then, Furey quickly walked toward him, with the machete raised above his head, in what Wolfe described as a “combat mode.”
Wolfe said he stepped out of his vehicle, shouted, “Police, drop the knife,” and aimed his gun at Furey.
He said he then pulled up his shirt to reveal his badge, and when Furey dropped the machete, attempted to apprehend him. At this point, the Campus Police officer showed up.
Furey was refused at police headquarters because of the injuries to his head and knees and was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital.
Furey said while there, the Temple police officers who accompanied him refused to call his parents, telling him they don’t call phone numbers with the area code 610.
His parents found out a day later, when police called Andrew Haff, Furey’s friend, who then called his parents.
Furey was charged with aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault and reckless endangerment. The case is still open, so the district attorney’s office could not comment.
Meanwhile, his problems with Temple had just begun. After multiple postponements, a UDC hearing ended with Furey being expelled for violating the Temple student code of conduct.
Furey said the panel members, Temple faculty and students, did not seem interested in fairness.
“[The hearing] was one of the most biased things ever. It wasn’t a hearing. They had already made up their minds,” he said.
One of the panel members, English professor Keith Gumery, questioned Furey’s argument that he was afraid the group approaching him was a gang.
“Could you define a gang for me, what you believe a gang to be?” Gumery asked.
“A group of criminals with the same allegiance and mindset,” Furey answered.
“So if they were a group of friends who’d been to a club and were wearing board shorts and Hawaiian shirts, you would see them … as being a gang?” Gumery asked.
Later, Gumery questioned Fisher’s need to get into his room.
“Could you have gone to stay with someone else that night, or did you really need to get into it that night?” Gumery asked. “Was there something you needed that night at 3:30 in the morning?”
“My bed,” Fisher said.
Missing from the meeting were Anderson, Segars, and Robinson, Wolfe’s companions that night. Also missing were the officers who accompanied Furey to the 22nd District, the Roundhouse and then to Hahnemann.
Furey’s mother, Margaret Boyce-Furey, said those five witnesses were crucial to his argument that Furey was not in the wrong.
According to the Temple hearing transcript, Robinson did not want to be in the hearing. Since he was not a Temple student, he could not be compelled to attend. Both Segars and Anderson refused to attend (it is not specified which of the two refused), and the other never responded.
Another discrepancy between the two stories is Wolfe’s vehicle. Furey said Wolfe and his friends were walking down the street before the altercation, while Wolfe said he was in a vehicle. This has added to the Furey’s suspicion that Wolfe’s story doesn’t check out.
Anderson, Segars, and Robinson had attended a party at 1727 Monument St. on April 5, 2008.
At the UDC hearing, Wolfe said he drove from the 16th District up to Monument Street to pick up his friends from the party shortly before the incident occurred at 3:30 a.m.
The Furey family said they are appealing the decision to expel him from Temple.
Temple officials said they do not comment on disciplinary actions.
Travis Wolfe has referred questions to the police press office.
Stephen Zook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.