MT Cop Explodes Over Sour Gummy Projectile

A somewhat facetious account of a student being harassed by policemen on campus:

Last night when walking down Washington Street at around 12:30 am, Al Fertig, ’10, was eating out of a bag of Sour Patch Kids and threw an orange one which tasted funny into the street. Unfortunately, a policeman speeding past in his vehicle assumed that this projectile was aimed at him, so he pulled over and verbally abused Fertig for about ten minutes, repeatedly calling him an “asshole”, a “punk kid”, and a “douchebag full of shit”, and trying to make him admit to being intoxicated.

Fertig maintained his sobriety and tried to protest that his rejection of the gummy candy had nothing to do with any kind of passive-aggressive hatred towards the Middletown PD, and besides, it was biodegradable, but this guy was having none of it.

The policeman, who introduced himself as “Clark, Officer Clark to you,” told Fertig he was writing him up “for being an asshole”, with no further explanation, and ordered Fertig to “stand in front of my car and don’t fuckin’ move”, while he got inside his vehicle and started to furiously scribble a ticket. Meanwhile, his canine companion was barking furiously from the backseat and baring its teeth.

In the middle of this dressing down, which Josh Gordon ’10 and I watched incredulously, two more police vehicles pulled up and surrounded Fertig, who stood there covered in flashing lights and continued dejectedly to eat his Sour Patch Kids.

The policemen in the other cars appeared bemused, and after a minute of observing the scene one rolled his eyes and kept moving. Minutes later, a black police car with “Supervisor” labeled on the side pulled up, and a policeman who appeared to have some seniority came out to see what was going on. The red-faced Clark seemed to ignore his presence and continued writing, finally exiting his car to yell at Fertig some more (without using the F-word nearly as much) before slapping him with a $200 citation for littering and telling him he “better watch out next time!!”

At that point we were fully prepared to quietly seethe in our rooms and accept this as a token incident of an embittered policeman unleashing his resentment of uppity college kids on us, but upon Google searching him later that night we found that this guy has a history of being incredibly over-reactive towards kids around Middletown.

According to the Middletown Tax Dollars blog, one Officer Douglas Clark of the Middletown PD was involved in an alleged racial bias incident in late April 2006.

A group of teenaged black males were waiting to be picked up by their parents in a parking lot on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Street after performing in a monthly Open Mic night sponsored by Teens with Talent (TwT), a community-based extracurricular organization that helps teenagers develop life skills, when our Officer Clark showed up.

According to Dunlap [one of the guys present at the incident], Clark jumped out of his cruiser and confronted the teens, telling them not to move. Clark’s police dog, which was still in the cruiser, was barking repeatedly, Dunlap said. Clark reportedly told the teens he was responding to a call that teenagers were “jumping at cars.”

Several adult bystanders objected to his accusations, maintaining that the kids were being a little loud but definitely not causing any trouble. One even accused him of singling out the teens because they were black, since the white patrons of Middletown bars were frequently more of a nuisance but ignored by police. Clark ignored them and kept yelling.

White [director of TwT] said she believes Clark ‘made a bad judgement call.’ With all the recent gang violence, she said, she thinks Clark was probably “nervous or scared.” However, White also said Clark is “a young officer,” and that he should attend sensitivity training. The kids felt this is simply “how the police are,” she said. “In every police department, there are a few bad apples,” White said.

The director of Teens With Talent filed a formal complaint with the PD about Clark, but no response was given.

I mean, nobody is suggesting any drastic action here, but if a short, red-faced cop with a crew cut and a really loud dog ever stops someone you know for an inane reason, be aware that he is ALWAYS having a bad day and might really benefit from a secret Valium habit (…or a massive ego check).

Xue @11:46: Postdated to 11:59PM to sticky at top.

  • Anonymous

    nice copy/paste job, argus

  • Anonymous

    nice copy/paste job, argus

  • Anonymous

    I think Officer Clark may have overreacted in this incident but you also need to take into consideration the fact that MPD deals with Wesleyan students all the time. On many different occasions students tend to mouth off and show no respect toward MPD and for that fact PSafe Officers. So maybe if the student body started to show respect towards the people that are here to serve them (MPD/PSafe) then maybe they would react differently. A good example of our behavior would be senior cocktails the incident with the bus driver. So the next time one of you has to interact with MPD/PSafe you should think about your attitude before it gets you in trouble.

  • Anonymous

    I think Officer Clark may have overreacted in this incident but you also need to take into consideration the fact that MPD deals with Wesleyan students all the time. On many different occasions students tend to mouth off and show no respect toward MPD and for that fact PSafe Officers. So maybe if the student body started to show respect towards the people that are here to serve them (MPD/PSafe) then maybe they would react differently. A good example of our behavior would be senior cocktails the incident with the bus driver. So the next time one of you has to interact with MPD/PSafe you should think about your attitude before it gets you in trouble.

  • Stover

    Connecticut cops. Enough said?

  • Stover

    Connecticut cops. Enough said?

  • steadyjohn

    I have posted about this incident at Right of Middle.

  • steadyjohn

    I have posted about this incident at Right of Middle.

  • Anonymous

    Please note that 2:26 is not actually Fertig ’08, since Fertig ’08 doesn’t even exist. He is right, though, Clark is a loose cannon. So let’s keep this discussion from getting out of hand, and keep this from turning into a crusade against the MPD. This was an isolated incident, so please don’t use it as an excuse to call the entire MPD and psafe “shitheads.” Like sheek said, I’m not looking for any drastic action to be taken against Middletown police or Officer Clark, just for this specific injustice to be acknowledged and corrected. And hopefully the attention that this has gotten will keep it from happening to anyone else.Fertig ’10

  • Anonymous

    Please note that 2:26 is not actually Fertig ’08, since Fertig ’08 doesn’t even exist. He is right, though, Clark is a loose cannon. So let’s keep this discussion from getting out of hand, and keep this from turning into a crusade against the MPD. This was an isolated incident, so please don’t use it as an excuse to call the entire MPD and psafe “shitheads.” Like sheek said, I’m not looking for any drastic action to be taken against Middletown police or Officer Clark, just for this specific injustice to be acknowledged and corrected. And hopefully the attention that this has gotten will keep it from happening to anyone else.

    Fertig ’10

  • Sheek

    this actually happened, pretty much as written. when I first posted this it was a little exaggerated, but that was unfair to the cop so I edited enough that it wasn’t COMPLETELY one-sided and didn’t make the guy seem like a TOTAL asshole. If I were a respectable blogger I probably should have made a note of this edit, but it was within an hour of posting it and I assumed only a few people had read it. I guess facetious isn’t the best word to describe it anymore, but if it is facetious at all it’s only “somewhat”, and only in the sense that this is entirely a subjective experience despite being what I think is a faithful account of what happened.

  • Sheek

    this actually happened, pretty much as written. when I first posted this it was a little exaggerated, but that was unfair to the cop so I edited enough that it wasn’t COMPLETELY one-sided and didn’t make the guy seem like a TOTAL asshole. If I were a respectable blogger I probably should have made a note of this edit, but it was within an hour of posting it and I assumed only a few people had read it. I guess facetious isn’t the best word to describe it anymore, but if it is facetious at all it’s only “somewhat”, and only in the sense that this is entirely a subjective experience despite being what I think is a faithful account of what happened.

  • Anonymous

    i’m confused, the warning at the beginning of this article says it’s “somewhat facetious”. is the SPK story even true? if it’s exaggerated, what was the real story?

  • Anonymous

    i’m confused, the warning at the beginning of this article says it’s “somewhat facetious”. is the SPK story even true? if it’s exaggerated, what was the real story?

  • Anonymous

    And please also acknowledge the complete disregard for manners as exhibted by this Office Clark. Of course we should be indebted to the service of the Middletown PD, but the sincere actions of good cops should not let us overlook this clear case of injustice. Clark is a loose cannonFertig ’08

  • Anonymous

    And please also acknowledge the complete disregard for manners as exhibted by this Office Clark. Of course we should be indebted to the service of the Middletown PD, but the sincere actions of good cops should not let us overlook this clear case of injustice.

    Clark is a loose cannon

    Fertig ’08

  • Anonymous

    Many of the comments here are unwarranted. Please keep in mind that the events this account alleges DO NOT reflect the actions of the Middletown Police at large, most of whom are amazing people who do their best with what they have available to them. Give respect where respect is due.- Anon ’08

  • Anonymous

    Many of the comments here are unwarranted. Please keep in mind that the events this account alleges DO NOT reflect the actions of the Middletown Police at large, most of whom are amazing people who do their best with what they have available to them. Give respect where respect is due.

    – Anon ’08

  • Anonymous

    damn i hate cops. theyre such shitheads. especially the middletown ones theyre incredibly bad at their job. psafe too, they waste so much time targeting students for needless violations that they fail to ensure the safety the student body which really should be their first priority.

  • Anonymous

    damn i hate cops. theyre such shitheads. especially the middletown ones theyre incredibly bad at their job. psafe too, they waste so much time targeting students for needless violations that they fail to ensure the safety the student body which really should be their first priority.

  • Anonymous

    uh, the police should be spending their time looking for the people who KEEP STEALING CARS OUT OF THE PARKING LOTS not doing things like this

  • Anonymous

    uh, the police should be spending their time looking for the people who KEEP STEALING CARS OUT OF THE PARKING LOTS not doing things like this

  • Justin L.

    Ha. I woke up from a nap around this time and was wondering why there were three cruisers surrounding what looked like nothing, outside my window.

  • Justin L.

    Ha. I woke up from a nap around this time and was wondering why there were three cruisers surrounding what looked like nothing, outside my window.

  • Anonymous

    Well if the facts are correct the cop was wasting his time on these teens. He should be going after the teens that terrorize senior citizens, roam around in packs at night and cause other disturbances in the north end of Middletown. The police fail to respond to calls concerning these situations. Perhaps they are afraid of being drawn into situations that cause problems for the police. Too bad. It’s to the detriment of Middletown. Punks need to be rounded up and put into jail. If the police won’t do it who will?

  • Anonymous

    Well if the facts are correct the cop was wasting his time on these teens. He should be going after the teens that terrorize senior citizens, roam around in packs at night and cause other disturbances in the north end of Middletown. The police fail to respond to calls concerning these situations. Perhaps they are afraid of being drawn into situations that cause problems for the police. Too bad. It’s to the detriment of Middletown. Punks need to be rounded up and put into jail. If the police won’t do it who will?

  • Alex

    i love that he just stood there eating the SPK while cops were pulling up. that just goes to show how ridiculous the cop was being.

  • Alex

    i love that he just stood there eating the SPK while cops were pulling up. that just goes to show how ridiculous the cop was being.

  • Ben

    note that officer clark is also a central figure in last year’s jose chapa fiasco: http://www.wesleyanargus.com/article.php?article_id=4866

  • Ben

    note that officer clark is also a central figure in last year’s jose chapa fiasco: http://www.wesleyanargus.com/article.php?article_id=4866

  • Anonymous

    omg you guys. amazing

  • Anonymous

    omg you guys. amazing

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like orange sour patch kids either. It’s all about the red ones.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like orange sour patch kids either. It’s all about the red ones.

  • Anonymous

    sour patch kids are bad, mkay

  • Anonymous

    sour patch kids are bad, mkay

  • Mad Joy

    So that explains what I saw happening out the window last night. I was with a couple of friends in a house right at the corner there, and I saw a police car pull over. Then two more came. It did look very strange – there were a lot of police for what didn’t look like a lot of people, or anyone getting arrested, or a car crash, etc.Weird. That’s worrying :/

  • Mad Joy

    So that explains what I saw happening out the window last night. I was with a couple of friends in a house right at the corner there, and I saw a police car pull over. Then two more came. It did look very strange – there were a lot of police for what didn’t look like a lot of people, or anyone getting arrested, or a car crash, etc.

    Weird. That’s worrying :/

  • Anonymous

    it’s assholes like clark that sparks a bad relationship between the two parties. what a fucking waste of taxes.

  • Anonymous

    it’s assholes like clark that sparks a bad relationship between the two parties. what a fucking waste of taxes.

  • Sheek

    We’re definitely complaining about this, glad you agree that this is totally ridiculous.

  • Sheek

    We’re definitely complaining about this, glad you agree that this is totally ridiculous.

  • Ed McKeon

    As a citizen of Middletown, I encourage you to make a formal complaint – to the police chief and the mayor. If what you say is true, a guy like this needs to be taken off the street. Time to be a grown up and do what’s right so this won’t happen to some other undeserving young person.

  • Ed McKeon

    As a citizen of Middletown, I encourage you to make a formal complaint – to the police chief and the mayor. If what you say is true, a guy like this needs to be taken off the street. Time to be a grown up and do what’s right so this won’t happen to some other undeserving young person.

  • Braille

    I really hope he fights that ridiculous fucking fine in court. this is ridiculous.

  • Braille

    I really hope he fights that ridiculous fucking fine in court. this is ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    haha more posts like this please

  • Anonymous

    haha more posts like this please