The Hartford Courant ran another story on Friday’s early-morning Fountain Ave. incident. Here are some details contained in that article, that I don’t think have been highlighted on Wesleying yet:
Police claim it wasn’t just beer bottles that were thrown:
Police said the students threw beer bottles and a lit firecracker at officers, and ignored orders to disperse given via loudspeaker multiple times over 30 to 40 minutes. Patrick McMahon, the department’s deputy chief, said officers showed “great restraint.”
Police claim that normal procedures were followed:
McMahon said complaints the departments received from students would be reviewed. “Right now, it seems the officers followed policies and procedures in responding to a call for assistance,” he said. “Because of the size of the crowd and the aggressiveness of the crowd, we had to call for help ourselves.”
Police claim that this is not the first party breakup situation that they’ve dealt with… though students refusing to disperse is unusual:
“Every year we get called out there for large parties, but they end up dispersing themselves without any major incidents,” Sgt. Scott Aresco, a department spokesman, said.
It was a P-Safe shift supervisor who contacted the MPD:
Wesleyan public safety officers asked the students to disperse, but they didn’t. Around 1:30 a.m., the shift supervisor contacted Middletown police for assistance, police said.
Verbal abuse apparently went both ways, and MPD waited 40 minutes to call in reinforcements. MPD claims that the pepper balls were fired at the feet of students:
Nine officers eventually arrived and, using a loudspeaker, ordered students to disperse, Aresco said. Aresco also said a beer bottle was thrown at the car of the first officer to arrive, that students were verbally abusive, and that a lit firecracker went off under a parked police car.
When the students refused to disperse and continued to throw bottles and cans after 40 minutes, the officers requested support from state police and police in Cromwell and Portland, Aresco said.
Police then moved in to disperse the students, using non-lethal force that included firing at their feet with pepper ball guns, Aresco said. Police Tasered two students and arrested five students who allegedly attacked officers or interfered, Aresco said.
Police claim that no tear gas was used:
… said she then had trouble breathing because of what she thought was tear gas, though Aresco said no tear gas was used.