Cop rips media for crucifying Nugs court walker Savannah McMillan-Christmas
Update: Savannah McMillan-Christmas, the woman who walked onto the court during Sunday's Denver-L.A. playoff game, was originally reported to be a known stalker of Nuggets players. But as we wrote in an update on view below, this account has now been discredited -- and Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson expresses frustration with the media for not confirming information that he speculates was flat wrong from the beginning.
"I saw people crucifying this poor child yesterday," Jackson says. "But nobody called me and asked. We would have gladly told everyone what we knew. And it's my understanding that she had no involvement in stalking the Nuggets or anyone else."
At this point, it's difficult to determine precisely where the stalker story started. But Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, a former Denver Post staffer, wrote that several sources, including "law-enforcement officials," identified McMillan-Christmas as a woman who had previously stalked former Nugget Kenyon Walker. (McMillan-Christmas allegedly asked, "Where's Kenyon?" as she was being led off the court.) In addition, Spears quotes McMillan-Christmas's father as saying that Denver Police had told him the department had misidentified her as a stalker.
Not true, Jackson maintains -- or at least from an official standpoint. He doesn't know if an officer assigned to the Pepsi Center on game night might have said something to this effect. "We have 1,400 cops, and I don't know what every one of them might have said," he notes. "But if somebody standing around says something, that's hearsay, not news -- and usually, the media calls to verify the facts. But I never got any calls and neither did my colleagues. And then, all of a sudden, boom -- it was out there."
So, too, were reports that McMillan-Christmas had been drunk when walking onto the court. That seems to be false as well. "She appeared to be somewhat despondent, but that's all," Jackson allows.
McMillan-Christmas is due in court for her trespassing citation on June 5. In the meantime, Jackson says, "I feel for the family. To call someone a stalker, well, that's a criminal description, not just a slang term. And I've talked to the Nuggets, and they had no information that she contacted anyone previously, and we don't, either. An officer could have mistakenly said, 'I think it's so-and-so,' but that's not an official comment -- so most journalists will call and verify."
This time, though, Jackson says no one did. Look below to see our previous coverage, including the video of McMillan-Christmas walking onto the court.
Update, 5:58 a.m. May 8: Savannah McMillan-Christmas, seen here, has now been charged with trespassing for wandering onto the Pepsi Center court during the Nuggets' loss to the Lakers on Sunday night. But the possibility of a conviction on this charge is of less immediate concern than the damage to her reputation. To whit: Media outlets such as 7News reported that McMillan-Christmas was a known stalker of Nuggets players -- an assertion that's proven to be false.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, previously a staffer with the Denver Post, "several sources, including Denver law-enforcement officials," ID'd McMillan-Christmas as a woman who'd previously stalked ex-Nuggets player Kenyon Martin. Hence, her reported question, "Where's Kenyon?" as she was being led off the hardwood.
In the Spears piece, Chris Christmas, McMillan-Christmas' father, says he was told by Denver police that they'd misidentified her as Martin's onetime stalker. Denver Police Department spokesman Detective John White made no such admission to the Denver Post, but he confirmed that the DPD is unaware of previous stalking incidents involving McMillan-Christmas.
So why'd McMillan-Christmas walk onto the court? Chris Christmas told Spears she's dealing with personal issues that make her "impulsive. She was really excited about the game. Her emotions overwhelmed her. This is something she will regret."
No doubt she already does. The Facebook account from which the above photo served as a profile pic was live yesterday, but it's down today, likely due to fallout from her brief stroll into the spotlight. She's currently at home under what Spears describes as "family and professional care," but she's due in court on the trespassing allegation June 5.
Look below for our earlier coverage, including a video of the incident.
Original item, 6:28 a.m. May 7: Evidence that none of the Denver Nuggets truly seized the spotlight during last night's 92-88 loss to the Lakers: The Denverite who received the most YouTube love after the contest wasn't a player, but Savannah McMillan-Christmas, a woman who wandered onto the court in the middle of the game.
See her bizarre moment below.
When the woman, age twenty, was being hurried off the hardwood by a member of the Pepsi Center security team, 7News reports that she asked, "Where's Kenyon?"
In Los Angeles, ma'am. He signed with the Clippers in February, months after selling his house in Denver for $1.2 million less than his original asking price.
According to the station, McMillan-Christmas is a familiar figure to the Pepsi Center staff and "has been known for stalking Nuggets players in the past."
Although generally not during games. Here's video of her strange national-TV cameo.
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