Tag Archive: Crime

  1. Cops to parade-goers: leave the beer at home

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    As the Elm City gears up for its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday, its police announced they will be cracking down on public drinking.

    New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said any of the expected 300,000 parade-goers caught drinking in public will face a $99 fine, the New Haven Independent reported. In anticipation of the influx of people into the city, Hartman said the NHPD will hire an additional 100 officers on Sunday to patrol the downtown area.

    While public drinking along the parade route has always been illegal, the NHPD has only stepped up enforcement in the past two years.

    “We will now be enforcing public drinking laws,” Hartman said, according to the Independent. “Unruly behavior is not going to be tolerated.”

    The NHPD will work with bar owners to ensure a smooth parade day, Hartman said. That message was underscored by the site of Hartman’s press conference: Anna Liffey’s, a bar on Whitney Avenue.

    The St. Patrick’s Day parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Derby Avenue and Chapel Street and will wind downtown to the New Haven Green. Grand Marshal Kevin Smith said at the Thursday press conference that the parade will feature 3,600 marchers in 126 units, the Independent reported. While the event typically draws around 250,000 people each year, Smith said the balmy weather predicted for Sunday — sunny with a high of 54 degrees — could bring as many as 300,000 to the parade.

  2. Six men arrested for assault at College and Elm

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    Yale Police Department officers arrested six men outside Stoeckel Hall on College and Wall Streets around 1:30 a.m. Friday.

    The arrests came after YPD Officer Dan Sentementes saw an altercation at the corner of Elm and College Streets at 12:54 a.m., YPD Assistant Chief Michael Patten said. When Sentementes approached the scene, several men jumped into a grey sedan parked at the intersection and fled the scene. Sentementes stopped the vehicle on College Street outside Stoeckel Hall.

    “Subsequent investigation revealed that an altercation took place with three other men which culminated in one of the men, Louis Edwards Jr., demanding the victim’s cell phone and striking him in the face,” Patten said.

    The men were handcuffed and seated on the path outside Stoeckel Hall for more than half an hour before they were loaded into a police vehicle and driven away to the New Haven Police Department for booking and processing shortly after 2 a.m. At least five YPD vehicles were on the scene. The sedan was towed away while the men were seated.

    All six men were arrested for conspiracy to commit second degree robbery. Edwards was also charged with a criminal attempt to commit second degree robbery and third degree assault.

    Edwards’ victim refused medical attention, Patten said.

  3. Bloomberg criticizes Levin for NYPD remarks

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    On Monday, University President Richard Levin issued a statement calling the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Mulsim students at Yale “antithetical” to the values of the University.

    But at a press conference on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sharply criticized Levin’s comments, saying the New York Police Department’s surveillance helped “keep the country safe,” Capital New York reported.

    “If going on websites and looking for information is not what Yale stands for, I don’t know,” Bloomberg said at a Tuesday press conference. “It’s the freedom of information … Of course we’re gonna look at anything that’s publicly available and in the public domain. We have an obligation to do so. And it is to protect the very things that let Yale survive.”

    Over the weekend, an Associated Press report revealed that the NYPD routinely trawled the websites, blogs and forums of Muslim student associations at Yale, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, recording in reports sent to the police commissioner the names of students and professors involved in Muslim student associations.

    Reporters at Brooklyn Public Library pushed Bloomberg on his defense of the surveillance, pointing to a case documented by the AP in which an undercover NYPD officer accompanied students on a rafting trip.

    Bloomberg denied that such a move was a step too far, saying that the job of law enforcement is to “make sure that they prevent things,” a job that requires them not to stay away from “anything that smacks of intelligence gathering.”

    When reporters asked him whether he was aware of the rafting trip, Bloomberg demurred and talked about his daughter.

    “I’ve been on a white rafting trip,” he said. “I went down the Rogue River [in Oregon] with my daughter years ago. It’s the last time I went whitewater rafting or probably ever talked about it.”

    The NYPD also monitored Muslim students associations at New York University, Rutgers University and Syracuse University.

  4. Levin responds to monitoring of Muslim students

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    In a Monday night email to the Yale community, University President Richard Levin responded to reports that surfaced on Saturday that the New York Police Department monitored Muslim students at Yale and at least 14 colleges around the Northeast.

    Levin said the Yale Police Department did not participate in the NYPD’s surveillance, which included trawling the websites, forums and blogs of Muslim student associations at colleges including Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007. He said the University was “entirely unaware” of NYPD activities until the Associated Press first reported the monitoring Saturday.

    “The Yale Muslim Students Association has been an important source of support for Yale students during a period when Muslims and Islam itself have too often been the target of thoughtless stereotyping, misplaced fear, and bigotry,” Levin wrote. “Now, in the wake of these disturbing news reports, I want to assure the members of the Yale Muslim Students Association that they can count on the full support of Yale University.”

    The NYPD recorded the names of students and professors involved in Muslim student associations and related events in reports prepared for New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, though none were charged with a crime. In a Nov. 22, 2006 NYPD secret document titled “Weekly MSA Report,” an NYPD officer reported that he visited the websites and forums of Muslim student associations at Yale, Columbia, Penn and eight other colleges and “did not find significant information.”

    In response to those activities, Levin stressed that police surveillance based on religion, national or “peacefully expressed political opinions” is “antithetical” to the values of Yale and the United States.

    The Associated Press documented NYPD undercover monitoring of Muslim student associations as recently as 2009, when police set up a safe house in New Brunswick, N.J., to follow the Muslim student group at Rutgers University.

  5. NYPD kept watch on Muslim Yalies, report says

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    New York Police Department officers monitored Muslim students at Yale and at least 14 other colleges around the northeast, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

    Detectives went undercover and trawled the websites of Muslim student associations at colleges including the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, according to the AP. The names of students and professors were recorded in reports prepared for New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, though none were charged with any crime.

    “I see a violation of civil rights here,” Tanweer Haq, chaplain of the Muslim Student Association at Syracuse, told the AP. “Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever. Muslim students want to have their own lives, their own privacy and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that everybody else has.”

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the AP his department deemed it “prudent to get a better handle on” what was occurring at Muslim student associations around the Northeast. At least 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism-related charges around the world were associated with Muslim student associations, Browne pointed out. He said the NYPD’s monitoring only took place in 2006 and 2007, but the AP documented cases of undercover monitoring as recently as 2009.

    University spokesman Tom Conroy could not immediately be reached for comment.

  6. Three arrested at Toad’s for selling ecstasy

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    There was another kind of ecstasy at Toad’s Place Thursday night — three men were arrested for selling MDMA, or Ecstasy, at a show.

    New Haven Police Department officers arrested the three men at a dubstep event at Toad’s after they were caught with ecstasy powder, NHPD spokesman David Hartman said. While ecstasy is commonly found as a capsule or tablet, its powder form is ingested by mixing it with a liquid or by snorting it.

    Phillip Masucci, 18, of Wallingford, Conn., Jonathan Lecuyer, 26 of Fairfield, Conn. and Steven Goodwin, 21, of East Haven, Conn., were all charged with sale of a hallucinogenic substance. In addition, Masucci and Goodwin were charged with conspiracy to sell a hallucinogenic substance. Lecuyer and Goodwin also face possession charges.

  7. Recidivism rate close to 80 percent in Connecticut

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    Nearly four in five men released from Connecticut prisons in 2005 were rearrested by 2010, according to a report on recidivism released Wednesday by the state’s Office of Policy and Management.

    According to the report, half of male inmates released in 2005 were back in prison with new sentences by 2010. Mike Lawlor, the state’s ndersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning, told the Hartford Courant the report establishes benchmarks and sets the stage for changes to the way probation and parole officers supervise the re-entry population.

    “Although violation of probation is the number one crime for which inmates are serving time in our state, those violations are dropping and so is the re‐incarceration rate,” Lawlor told the state’s Judiciary Committee Friday.

    The report found that 78.6 percent of the 14,400 Connecticut prisoners released in 2005 were re-arrested, while 49.8 returned to jail by 2010.

    Recidivism is also a problem in the Elm City, police and City Hall officials have stressed in the last few years. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. noted on several occasions in the past year that around 70 percent of violent crime in New Haven comes from either narcotics trade or the re-entry population, highlighting the need to focus policing efforts on those returning to the city post-incarceration.

    As part of those efforts, the New Haven Police Department is partnering with state probation and parole officers and launching several new community-policing based initiatives to better supervise the re-entry population, NHPD spokesman David Hartman said.

    Last Friday, the Office of Policy and Management released a report showing that Connecticut’s crime rate is at a 44-year low.

  8. Men arrested in ICE raids win big settlement from feds

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    Eleven men claiming immigration agents violated their constitutional rights during 2007 raids on their Fair Haven homes won a settlement from the U.S. government of $350,000 on Tuesday, according to NBC Connecticut.

    The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2009, describes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents forcefully entering four households without consent or search warrants, sometimes with guns drawn. Critics, including Mayor John DeStefano Jr., charged that the federal raid was retaliation for the city’s decision to offer resident identification cards to individuals, regardless of immigration status.

    “Without cause or reasonable suspicion, ICE agents interrogated and arrested residents based on their skin color and physical appearance,” the 2009 complaint reads. “In some cases, agents arrested people in front of their families and young children.”

    An ICE spokesman said the settlement — which according to some could be the largest ever paid by the federal government over residential immigration raids — is not an admission of liability on part of the U.S. government, but is intended to divert additional time and funding from being spent on further litigation.

    Deportation proceedings against the men have been dropped, according to their attorneys.

  9. Miller wants NHPD chief to teach seminar

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    In a Monday interview with the News, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said she would like to have newly appointed New Haven Police Department Chief Dean Esserman teach a residential college seminar in Fall 2012.

    Esserman was sworn into office Nov. 18 and has begun rolling out a community policing strategy around the Elm City’s 10 districts. The background of this type of policing — which emphasizes community engagement and proactive policing over traditional response and enforcement — would be the topic of the potential residential college seminar, Miller said. Esserman is already teaching in a Law School clinic with Professor James Forman Jr. LAW ’92, Miller said. For his part, Esserman said he is looking forward to teaching, noting that the details of the seminar have not been finalized.

    “We’re working on developing what might be a college seminar proposal, engaging undergraduates in what community policing means,” Miller said. “I’d like to think that Dean Esserman is really engaged in not just managing a police force but in thinking about how do we build a community in which crime is less likely to erupt.”

    Esserman graduated from Dartmouth College and obtained his law degree from New York University — what Miller said was “not the usual trajectory” to running police departments. Yale’s residential college seminar program has a tradition of bringing “longstanding practitioners” to the classroom, Miller added.

    This semester, Yale College offers 20 residential college seminars.

  10. East Haven Police Chief resigns

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    East Haven Police Department Chief Leonard Gallo announced his resignation, effective last Friday, at a Monday morning press conference at East Haven Town Hall.

    Gallo has come under scrutiny since agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested four of his officers on Tuesday for systematic mistreatment of Latino residents. The officers were indicted on several counts of excessive force, false arrest and conspiracy against rights — that conspiracy, the indictment said, included a “Co-conspirator 1” who impeded investigation into the misconduct and helped create a “climate of fear” in the local community. Fred Bow, the chairman of the East Haven Board of Police Commissioners, identified Gallo as “Co-conspirator 1.”

    Gallo’s resignation comes even as calls intensify for East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. to step down. Three members of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission met with Maturo Monday morning and urged him to resign, according to the Hartford Courant.

    “The Latino community feels [Maturo and Gallo] are not fit to be our stewards, so to speak,” commission member Isaias Diaz said.

    As of Monday morning, over 15,000 people had signed an online petition telling Gallo to resign from his post.

  11. Esserman asks three assistant chiefs to exit

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    Two months after taking over as New Haven Police Department Chief, Dean Esserman announced his intention to restructure the department’s leadership Friday evening.

    Esserman said he had informed his three remaining assistant chiefs — Petesia Adger, Tobin Hensgen and Patrick Redding — over the past few weeks that he planned to appoint his own leadership team. Adger, Hensgen and Redding — along with John Velleca, a former assistant chief who retired last month — were appointed less than a year ago by then-NHPD Chief Frank Limon, and together have served over 60 years at the NHPD.

    “I am moving the Department in a new direction and have taken these past two months to assess the organization,” Esserman said in a Friday press release. “Over the last several weeks, I have met with the assistant chiefs to let them know that I’d like to put my own team together and that I will honor and respect their service to the City of New Haven in developing a time frame for the transition”.

    While Esserman said he would let the assistant chiefs announce their own decisions about if and whether they would department, adding he he would not bring “anyone from New York or Providence.” Esserman previously served as chief of the Providence Police Department.

    Redding signaled he would retire on Thursday, according to the New Haven Register, but neither Hensgen nor Adger could be reached for comment.

    NHPD Spokesman David Hartman deferred comment on the leadership restructuring to the chief’s office, but said that the announcement of any new assistant chiefs would come from Mayor John DeStefano Jr. City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 explained it is the “right” of the police chief to choose his assistant chiefs.

    CLARIFICATION: An earlier headline incorrectly asserted that Esserman had “fired” the three assistant chiefs. Rather, he asked the assistant chiefs to retire so that he could structure his own leadership team.

  12. YPD introduces new SMS tip system

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    Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins tweeted Wednesday to introduce YaleTip, a new anonymous mobile text tipoff system.

    The new service — available by texting yaletip and a message to the YPD to 67283 — processes messages through a third-party, thereby protecting the identity of tipsters, YPD Assistant Chief Steven Woznyk explained in a Wednesday email to the News. With the new system, open to all members of the Yale and New Haven community, the YPD hopes to get more information to assist in its investigations of dangerous or criminal activity.

    “These types of technological advances assist law enforcement agencies as well as make it easier for community members to provide information to police that may assist in various investigations,” Woznyk said. “Like Bulldog Mobile, we wanted to keep up with various technological advances to better serve the community.”

    If the YPD requires more information, all correspondence is routed through the third-party vendor to protect informants’ identities.