Charges against Fuhrer ’11 dropped

The charge against Zachary Fuhrer ’11, one of the students arrested during the Oct. 2 raid during the Morse-Stiles screw at Elevate on Crown Street, was dismissed March 11.

Fuhrer’s dismissed charge of interfering with a police officer is the second Elevate-related case to be dropped. Three more cases, which include felony charges against Jordan Jefferson ’13, are still pending. Details about Jefferson’s role in the raid and the police’s decision to repeatedly use a Taser against him, were released on March 4 in the New Haven Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation report.

“I feel like I’m regaining a position of power,” Fuhrer told the News. “The need to constantly defend myself for something I haven’t done for five months is now over. But it is frustrating that three of the [Elevate-related] cases are still pending.”

(Fuhrer is a former Arts and Living editor for the News.)

Hugh Keefe, the New Haven attorney representing Fuhrer and three other men charged with crimes during the raid, said that he expects the court to dismiss all of the cases against his clients.

Keefe does not represent Jefferson, who is charged with three counts of assaulting an officer. These charges stem from a struggle that ensued after at least one NHPD officer used a Taser on the student.

Sgt. J. Wolcheski, who wrote the Internal Affairs report, said in his “finding of fact” conclusion that the police officers did not use excessive force while arresting Jefferson.

“Based on witness accounts, [Jefferson] was actively resisting and fighting the officers,” he wrote in the report. “The alleged act [use of a Taser] did occur, but the officers engaged in no misconduct because the act was lawful, justified and proper.”

Student and police accounts of Jefferson’s alleged resistance vary. One student quoted in the Internal Affairs report said that the inciting incident occurred when Jefferson “stepped forward slightly,” away from an arresting officer who was standing behind him. Conversely, NHPD Lt. Thaddeus Reddish said that Jefferson slapped officers’ hands when they tried to handcuff him, and then struck two officers with his forearm when they tried to use a Taser against him.

Wolcheski wrote that a Taser may be used when a subject’s actions are perceived as “physically evasive movements to defeat an officer’s attempt at control.”

The Internal Affairs report was based on 25 student complaints against the department and 22 statements from officers.

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