Vin Conti was preparing for a glide in East Rock Park when the winds turned against him and his kite got caught in some trees. Before Conti could rescue the paraglider, a policeman arrested him on the grounds that scaling, ascension or descent at East Rock is forbidden. Conti was not allowed to free his kite before being taken away.
Conti told the Register that he frequently kite surfed at East Rock and that he is “licensed by a federally recognized organization to do so.” He insisted that kite surfing is “normally very safe” and that although it can be dangerous, “more people are hurt riding bicycles.”
He was released after he made a written promise to appear in court.
A boisterous crowd filled downtown New Haven on Sunday for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even as police cracked down on public drinking along the route.
New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said around 40 people were arrested, predominantly for alcohol-related offenses. Eleven were arrested for breach of the peace, five for disorderly conduct and eight for interfering with police officers, Hartman said, noting that these numbers are roughly comparable to past parades.
“The crowd along the parade was generally well behaved, as expected, but those in the downtown bar areas were generally not well behaved,” he said. “We were pleased that in the wake of increased enforcement of laws prohibiting the public consumption of alcohol, there was a very noticeable increase in the number of younger children who lined the parade route with their families.”
In a press conference at Whitney Avenue bar Anna Liffey’s last Thursday, Hartman stressed the NHPD would be vigorously enforcing public drinking laws and issuing a $99 fine to offenders. To that end, the NHPD hired an additional 100 officers on Sunday to patrol the downtown area.
The policing of the event did not deter parade-goers from turning out in high numbers. Although Hartman said the parade “absolutely did not” draw the 300,000 people expected by Grand Marshal Kevin Smith, it was the most well attended parade he has seen.
“A sensible estimate of those revelers in the heart of the Downtown entertainment district would be more than 20,000 but fewer than 35,000 at any one time,” Hartman said.
Among the Elm City officials marching in the parade were Mayor John DeStefano Jr., NHPD Chief Dean Esserman and New Haven Fire Department Chief Michael Grant.
State politicians also appeared in the line-up: U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) marched alongside U.S. Representative Chris Murphy, who hopes to replace U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 after he retires at the end of his term this year.
All up, the parade was slated to feature 3,600 marchers in 126 units, according to Smith.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.