EXCLUSIVEThe Madison Police Department straight up LIED to the media about its investigation into the Montee Ball attack ... and tried to throw TMZ under the bus ... but their plan has backfired ... big time.
TMZ broke the story ... the Madison Police Department HAD launched an investigation into tips that Ball and several of his UW football teammates beat up a man at a party on July 27 ... several days before Ball was attacked on campus. Cops told the media that the TMZ report was not true.
After cops made their false statement, TMZ broke another story -- cops had interviewed the person who claimed he was brutally injured by Ball and others on July 27... and wanted to know if the alleged victim had ordered a retaliatory strike on Ball.
Today, cops released a NEW statement .... finally admitting what we had already told you -- that investigators were indeed looking into the July 27 event.
Cops have now said ... "Through information developed by detectives, [The Madison PD has] determined that there was a fight that occurred Friday night which involved UW students, members of the UW football team, and other individuals that were not affiliated with the University of Wisconsin's Athletics Department."
The statement continues, "We have also determined that Montee Ball was present at the location of that fight, but we have no information that leads us to believe that he had any involvement in that particular event."
We called the MPD for comment -- for some reason, they don't want to talk to us.