Police swarm Old Campus

According to YPD Lt. Joseph Vitale, an “obviously intoxicated” student ran into Old Campus to evade the police Thursday.
According to YPD Lt. Joseph Vitale, an “obviously intoxicated” student ran into Old Campus to evade the police Thursday. Photo by Emily Suran.

Police cruisers swarmed and closed off Old Campus before removing a Yale College freshman late Thursday night. Yale Police Department Lt. Joseph Vitale said that the male freshman was found by a New Haven Police Department cruiser on Chapel and High St. Vitale said the student was “obviously intoxicated” and may have been yelling into a traffic cone.

Vitale said that when the cruiser stopped, the student — whose name he did not know — ran into Old Campus in an attempt to evade the police. When the NHPD officers saw this, they called for backup and pursued, he added.

“When someone ran away from the police for nothing at all, the officers didn’t know what they had,” he said. “Not knowing who it is, or why they ran, of course multiple cars are going to respond.”

For about five to ten minutes, students were not allowed to enter the High Street gate. Students on the scene reported seeing a young person in handcuffs, as well as police officers leading a canine unit around the High Street gate at the same time.

Vitale said NHPD and responding YPD officers did not ask to enter dormitories, contrary to reports from student witnesses. He did confirm reports that a police dog was on campus, but he said that it was part of a normal patrol, and not brought in specifically for the incident.

The officers found the male in the vicinity of Connecticut Hall, Vitale said. When the police caught up with the student, and confirmed his Yale affiliation, almost all of the officers dispersed.

After checking on the student, Vitale said, the officers put him in an ambulance headed toward the hospital for detoxification. He said that the student was not arrested.

Up to 10 Yale Police and New Haven Police Department officers talked to students near Vanderbilt Hall around 11:35 p.m., telling them to stay in their rooms or “take a 15-minute walk” if they were trying to return to their entryways, said one student who asked not to be identified. The officers declined to comment on the situation. By 11:45 p.m., the officers had dispersed, although at least one police car remained parked on Elm Street.

Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner, reached at her home, said she had not heard anything about the incident. Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins could not be reached for comment.

Antonia Woodford and Gavan Gideon contributed reporting.


  • The Anti-Yale


  • zena

    gosh, an intoxicated freshman. Call out the army!

  • Branford73

    Not excessive by this report, without more. Could be a reasonable attempt to provide safety to Old Campus, if the guy was acting crazy. The report that he was transported for medical help instead of being arrested supports reasonable police action.

  • MilesRichardson

    What a boss!

  • annwoolliams

    Embaressing for the boy I assume,but I think the right response. Emotions always run high when the Police are involved in a David and Goliath situation. I live in New Zealand and last year a boy died of alcohol poisoning so my opinion might differ from most students at Yale. http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/schoolboy-dies-after-drinking-vodka-3534288 ‘Yay’ the New Haven Police! Job well done. There is snow on the ground!? If the boy had decided to bed down with that traffic cone he would be dead now. i wish for the parents of James Webster the NZ Police had been around to chase him down.

  • Justsaying

    The only thing excessive is this story…

  • faun

    Come on, YDN. Just because The Rumpus has been getting a lot of attention lately doesn’t make it appropriate for this to be “news”.

  • joey00

    They all called dispatch and requested OT. Two put in for Workman’s Comp benefits as they got hurt responding.

  • harbinger

    And if no cops had responded, the YDN would be collectively weeping about the lack of safety on Old Campus. Yet another example of why Yale should enforce the alcohol laws, how much trouble has been caused by underage Yalies and demon rum?