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New Haven police accused of brutality during Yale party raid

Jenna Johnson

The New Haven police called it "Operation Nightlife" -- staffing the downtown bar and nightclub district with four times as many officers to crack down on public intoxication, under-age drinking, loitering, traffic back-ups and other problems over two weekends.

As part of the operation, police officers and SWAT team members burst into a private party hosted by Yale College undergraduates at a night club near campus, Elevate, early Saturday morning.

Students say the officers shoved, punched and manhandled students, used excessive profanity, took photos of students and tasered one student multiple times, according to the Yale Daily News. The officers arrested five students, three of whom were taken to jail.

Police say while inspecting the nightclub they found several egregious violations, including dangerous levels of overcrowding, under-age drinking and reports of fights, according to the New Haven Register. When checking IDs of club occupants, officers said two students refused to comply with verbal commands and one "had to be tased to be brought under control," according to a police statement.

Police went on to explain the raid more in the statement:

Elevate presented such a risk that it was necessary to respond with a strong police presence that involved members of the SWAT team as support to the limited bar detail that was already in place. Police are almost always outnumbered. Police do their job through the cooperation of those they are protecting and policing.

Dean of Yale College Mary Miller said in an e-mail to students that administrators are collecting information about students' "serious concerns about the reported behavior of the New Haven Police as the dance at Elevate was drawing to an end" but that it will take time to decide on a plan of action, especially as some students face criminal charges, according to the Yale Alumni Magazine blog.

At least one clubgoer took a grainy cellphone video of the incident. Read the latest story from the Yale Daily News, here.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | October 5, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags:  Yale  
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Comments

STUDENT RESPONSE COMMITTEE
Responding to the Recent NHPD Raid on the Yale Student Party at Elevate Lounge

MEDIA ADVISORY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


CONTACT:

Michael Jones, (203) 936-9434
Ward 1 Alderman, City of New Haven


Students To Hand Deliver Complaint Forms To Officials En Masse

[NEW HAVEN, CT] — A group of students who witnessed questionable behavior during the
recent Elevate raid will gather to march together and hand deliver their Civilian Complaint
Forms to officials. This will be a strong display of solidarity among the community, and should
serve as example that everyone should feel free to share their accounts of the raid.

WHO: A group of students

WHAT: Eye witnesses of questionable behavior deliver complaints to officials

WHERE: Meet at Phelps Gate at Yale University (344 College Street)

WHEN: Thursday, October 7 at 3:45 p.m.


The New Haven Police Department’s Raid on Elevate Lounge occurred at approximately
12:50 a.m. on the morning of October 2nd. Officers in the NHPD and CT Liquor Commission
agents raided a party co-hosted by Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges (two of Yale’s twelve
residential colleges) that was hosted at Club Elevate on Crown Street. The raid occurred as part
of “Operation Nightlife” which is a recent initiative of the NHPD to increase police presence in
the city’s Entertainment District – in which Elevate Lounge is located. During the raid, 5
students were arrested.


###


The Student Response Committee is a coalition of the Yale College Council, the Morse and Ezra
Stiles College Councils and Student Activity Committees, and other interested campus leaders.
The group remains committed to working with the City of New Haven and the New Haven
Police Department to work towards an amicable resolution.

Ben Stango

Posted by: BenStango | October 5, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I used to work in NYC nightclubs in the early eighties. Payoffs to the police and fire dept. were the norm and considered a cost of doing business. It sounds to me like the Elevate Club refused to pay off somebody. Or, a rival club that wants to put Elevate out of business could be behind it. Don't think that this gross over reaction happened because the police were concerned with the public's safety. Follow the dirty money trail. I'd bet anything the owner/management refused to play ball with the criminals and suffered the consequences along with the Yale students. This is how the club business was in NYC in the early eighties and I'd bet it's not much different now in New Haven. If the police had their priorities straight, they'd be focused on the gangs, guns and drugs which are an epidemic in New Haven. A thorough investigation of the NH police by the FBI is needed.

Posted by: MrCrash | October 7, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

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