Videos may become evidence

Video clips of New Haven Police officers yelling “Anybody else? Who’s next?” at a crowd of Yale students went online hours after the Oct. 2 raid on the Elevate Lounge, but more extensive footage from the entire Morse-Stiles Screw exists and may serve as evidence if the club pursues litigation.

Elevate’s lawyer John Carta said he is in the process of evaluating and assessing the security videos taken inside the club that evening. Meanwhile, the four Yale students and one Harvard graduate who were arrested during the raid had their day in court postponed for a second time Tuesday. The proceedings are now set for Nov. 9 so that the prosecution can continue to investigate the case, said Hugh Keefe, the lawyer for four of the young men.

“The state is still looking into some aspects of the matter,” he said, adding that the first postponement on Oct. 19 was so the defense could gather further eyewitness testimonies.

Many Yale students have written accounts of the raid, but video footage could provide an indisputable record of the night.

Carta would not speculate about whether or not the prosecution in the Elevate cases will ask the club for video evidence, but he confirmed that security video footage exists. Carta said the day after the raid that the club was considering suing the city, and added Tuesday that he is assessing multiple videos in preparation for potential legal action.

“Things happened so quickly after the raid,” he said. “The dust is now settling a little bit and we are considering several different options.”

In an Oct. 4 interview, Carta said police officers raiding the club acted as if they were “drunk with their power.”

The club will decide whether or not to pursue litigation based on what if any long-term effects the raid has on Elevate’s business, Carta said. Potential consequences could include lingering reputational or popularity problems, he added. But the club is in no hurry to litigate, he said, because if they decide to, “there is plenty of time to do that.”

As for the students currently embroiled in legal proceedings, they will have to wait two more weeks to know whether or not they will face any penalty.

William F. Dow III, lawyer for the Yale student who was Tasered by officers during the raid, said he is “hopeful that the charges will be resolved in favor of my client,” who is facing six charges.

Dow’s client, Jordan Jefferson ’13, is the only one of the five who is charged with a felony (three counts of assault against an officer); the other four only face misdemeanor charges.

The NHPD has said that the Taser used in at Elevate did not have a video camera.

The Oct. 2 raid was initiated as part of Mayor John DeStefano’s “Operation Nightlife,” which was created to eliminate crime in downtown New Haven.

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