Three men were arrested and charged for their participation in a brawl that erupted outside of Toad’s Place early Sunday morning, a New Haven Police Department official confirmed Monday.
Ronald Pfeiffer, Ryan Watkins-Wiseman and Ransom Maduka were all apprehended following violence that escalated outside the dance club shortly after midnight, NHPD Lt. Jeff Hoffman said. He added that the additional arrest of an unidentified woman involved in a fight within Toad’s is still possible.
Four eyewitnesses said Sunday that the skirmish on the sidewalk between Toad’s and Yorkside Pizza led to a shirtless man they identified as a Quinnipiac University student punching in the window of the restaurant. NHPD Assistant Chief Denise Blanchard confirmed that the window shattered at approximately 12:35 a.m., at which time the fire marshal at Toad’s stopped letting people into the club, according Toad’s Place owner Bryan Phelps. Though Hoffman said none of the three men who were arrested and now await court appearances has been identified as the man responsible for shattering the window, George Koutroumanis, a Yorkside employee, said the restaurant is in possession of a case number for the assailant and might press charges.
Pfeiffer, an 18-year-old student at Quinnipiac University, was charged with assault in the third degree, breach of peace in the second degree and interfering with police. According to the report of arresting officer Michael Fumiatti, Pfeiffer was involved in a skirmish inside Toad’s when he was asked to leave the establishment. He proceeded to assault a Toad’s bouncer — who is a complainant in the case — and resist arrest by Fumiatti. He is reported to have “clenched his fists” and “fought against apprehension,” said Hoffman.
A 21-year-old from Milford, Conn., Watkins-Wiseman was charged with interfering with police and disorderly conduct. His status as a student is unconfirmed, Hoffman said. According to the report of arresting officer Leonard Soto, Watkins-Wiseman was in a large group yelling profanities and obstructing traffic on York Street when police officers approached to clear the scene. Watkins-Wisemen is reported to have “pushed Soto’s face with his hand,” Hoffman said.
The third man charged is Ransom Maduka, a 21-year-old from Florence, Conn. He awaits charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with police after pushing and shouting expletives at NHPD officer Michael Pepe. Hoffman said the report notes that Maduka — whose status as student is listed as “unmentioned” — was “very intoxicated.”
Though none of the three men arrested were pepper sprayed, Hoffman said pepper spray was used by NHPD officers on the scene. Despite one eyewitness account to the contrary, Hoffman said he was not aware of any Taser use.
Pfeiffer, Watkins-Wiseman and Maduka were all released that same Sunday morning “either on bond or a promise to appear in court,” Hoffman said. They will be asked to appear within 10 days of the arrest, Hoffman added, and will face sentences that might include community service, a fine, jail time or a combination of the three.
The three police reports do not mention that anyone was arrested for breaking the Yorkside window, Hoffman said, though he guessed it was one of the three men arrested.
“It was probably one of these guys,” he said. “But there may not have been witnesses because it’s not in the reports.”
Koutroumanis, who was working at Yorkside when the window was punched in, said he had been told the police had caught the man responsible for shattering the window.
He said the restaurant is waiting to hear from the Police Department about possible restitution.
“There might be an agreement where he would just pay for the damages,” he added. “But we might still press charges.”
In addition to the three men arrested Sunday morning, Hoffman said further arrests are pending. Because additional reports have yet to be filed, the parties involved remain unidentified.
Hoffman said a woman came to the Police Department Sunday to report an altercation within Toad’s earlier Saturday evening.
“There was a fight inside the club earlier in the night that involved two females,” he said. “One came to the front desk of the Police Department. It’s likely that this will result in the arrest of the other party.”
Phelps, who was at the club Saturday night, said he knew few details about the fight and subsequent arrests. He said he did not know the identity of those involved in the fight, though he said he thought they were “kids from one of the area schools.”
Phelps said he hires 25 security guards and about three police officers to guard the club each night. Beyond that security, he said there is little he can do to prevent violence from breaking out.
“There’s no way of totally stopping it,” he said. “We’re not God. It just happens.”
Toad’s Place opened in 1976.