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Conn College student arrested for interfering with police, claims police brutality

Conn College student arrested for interfering with police, claims police brutality

Postby smix » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:45 pm

Conn College student arrested for interfering with police, claims police brutality
FOX 61

URL: http://fox61.com/2016/10/18/conn-colleg ... brutality/
Category: Police
Published: October 18, 2016

Description: NEW LONDON – An incident that occurred at Connecticut College early Sunday morning is gaining a lot of traction online due to the conflicting stories that police and the person arrested have presented. According to police, on Sunday at 1:30 a.m. police got a 911 call from a concerned Connecticut College student in a residence hall who heard another female screaming for help and a man yelling. When police arrived, they encountered an intoxicated 22-year-old woman and 20-year-old man, both students, who were identified as being the ones involved in the domestic violence incident. Police said both individuals became hostile with police, but their identities are not being released. While investigating, police said another student, identified as Lee Messier, 21, began to interfere and “exacerbate the situation.” Police said he was “directed several times by officers not to interfere and to keep his distance,” and was warned he’d be arrested if he didn’t comply. Police said he kept interfering, “causing further escalation of the situation, which was already at a level hazardous to all parties involved.” Messier was arrested and charged with interfering with police. Messier tells a different side of the story. In a long Facebook post that has gone viral, with more than 5,000 shares and 600 comments as of Tuesday evening, Messier claims he was the victim of police brutality. According to Messier’s post, he was in his dorm in a friend’s room when he heard a woman crying “help” in an adjacent room. He said he and a friend also heard loud thumps and thuds. Messier said he and his friend went in the hallway to see what was happening, and noticed the room with the screams coming from it had its door open. He entered and saw a man, who he believed to be intoxicated, but that man walked past him and left. The woman who remained apparently thanked Messier for intervening and went into the friend’s room to calm down. When she left, seven New London police officers and five campus safety officers came running in, apparently called by someone else who heard the screams. Messier said he and his friend were “in shock because the officers are acting so combatively towards not only the victim but also to us. After all, we were the ones who intervened in the first place and interrupted a potentially very serious assault situation in an attempt to protect the victim, nothing more.” He said he and his friend tried to explain to police what had occurred because the domestic violence victim was crying hysterically and scared, and they had witnessed the incident. Messier said that when they tried to talk to an officer, the officers yelled at him and his friend to go back to their room. They did go back in the doorway, but then witnessed the victim trying to run away and then getting handcuffed. So they tried again to explain to nearby officers what had occurred. At that point, Messier said he was cursed at by an officer and told to get back in the room or he’d be arrested. When he asked why he would be arrested, the officer allegedly began to twist his arm to try to handcuff him. When he pulled back “in an instictive response,” his arm was yanked again, causing pain in his shoulder. At that point, Messier said he let the officer cuff him, but that’s when things got worse. According to Messier, although he had submitted to arrest, the arresting officer held a can of Mace in front of his face, and then three other officers came over to push Messier to the ground. “I received 4-5 direct blows to the head from one of the knees of the arresting officer. Other officers kicked me repeatedly in the back and pressed my head extremely hard into the ground,” Messier said. In the end of his post he acknowledges he was arrested, and then asserts that the incident amounted to police brutality. “At no point did the police or campus safety gather information from either us or the victim. Instead they frightened her even more and put her in handcuffs. This could have all been avoided if they weren’t so hostile from the very beginning. They should have approached her in a way that made her feel safe instead of intimidated,” Messier wrote. Despite claims from both the police and Messier, the parents of the girl who was allegedly assaulted deny the incident. In a statement to FOX 61, they said: "We are the parents of the female student involved in the incident at Connecticut College, for which the actions of the New London police are under investigation. We fully support the actions of Connecticut College in this matter. We would also like to state, unequivocally, that the call to the police was the result of a misunderstanding, and that no domestic assault actually occurred. At no time did any student assault another student. We send our love and support to all of the students involved." FOX 61 has reached out to Messier and police about the incidents. Messier responded on Wednesday morning: “I am being bombarded by ALOT of media outlets all asking to meet in person and talk on camera. This something I really need to consider seriously. I want to make sure that I can articulate the incident as thoroughly and as vividly as possible. That being said, I am going to take a couple more days to recover and digest this entire situation before speaking with any media outlets on camera. What I can say with conviction is that without a doubt I was treated unjustly and inhumanely by the New London Police Department. I am continuing conversations with the administration so they understand my seriousness in this issue. Thank you.”



Conn. College student says he was assaulted by officer previously fired for brutality incident
FOX 61

URL: http://fox61.com/2016/10/19/conn-colleg ... -incident/
Category: Police
Published: October 19, 2016

Description: NEW LONDON --The New London police department says it is conducting an internal investigation following a claim of police brutality by a Connecticut College student who was arrested in a dormitory last weekend. Lee Messier, a junior at Connecticut College, says cops cuffed him and threw him on the ground when he was trying to share information he had about an assault of a female that had taken place in a dorm room next to the one he was in late Saturday night. He says that after being forced to the ground, he was threatened with Mace and received "4-5 direct blows to the head from one of the knees of the arresting officer. Other officers kicked me repeatedly in the back and pressed my head extremely hard into the ground." Police said in a press release that Messier, 21, began to interfere and “exacerbate the situation.” Police said he was “directed several times by officers not to interfere and to keep his distance,” and was warned he’d be arrested if he didn’t comply. When he didn't, he was arrested and charged with interfering with police. On Wednesday, FOX 61 learned that the arresting officer, Joshua Bergeson, was fired three years ago by then Mayor Daryl Finizio after an alleged beating and pepper spraying incident, but the union filed a complaint with the state labor board for a wrongful termination. The case was settled and Bergeson got his job back. "Because we have an open investigation going, into what allegedly took place that night, I am not able to comment on any of the details of the case at this time," said Deputy Chief Peter Reichard of the New London Police Department. However, the department did release a statement on its Facebook page:
The New London Police Department is committed to investigating all complaints against its members in an open and fair manner with the truth as its primary objective. It is the policy of the New London Police Department to maintain an effective and efficient administrative system to receive, process, and fairly investigate all complaints against its personnel. A relationship of trust and confidence between the personnel of the New London Police Department and the citizens of our community is essential to the successful accomplishment of law enforcement objectives. All New London Police Department employees are expected to conduct themselves in such a manner as to reflect favorably upon themselves and the department. As a result of this fundamental belief, an internal investigation of the Connecticut College incident was ordered by Chief Margaret Ackley on Sunday, October 16, 2016 after being notified of complaints of police misconduct associated with the incident. Deputy Chief Peter Reichard has been assigned the internal investigation by the Chief. The disposition of the internal investigation along with the relevant facts shall be made public upon completion. While opinions on this incident will vary and incite emotion, we hope that everyone will remain civil and respectful along with maintaining an open dialog with us.

Despite claims from both the police and Messier, the parents of the girl who was allegedly assaulted deny the incident. In a statement to FOX 61, they said:
We are the parents of the female student involved in the incident at Connecticut College, for which the actions of the New London police are under investigation. We fully support the actions of Connecticut College in this matter. We would also like to state, unequivocally, that the call to the police was the result of a misunderstanding, and that no domestic assault actually occurred. At no time did any student assault another student. We send our love and support to all of the students involved.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said it's trying to change laws to ensure that incidents like this are properly investigated. "The ACLU, this next legislative session, is going to call for the creation of a truly independent police oversight agency to handle incidents like this and give a true neutral perspective on what happened," said David McGuire, acting executive director of the ACLU. Meanwhile, Connecticut College says it's doing its own internal investigation, but that Messier's decision to intervene in what he perceived to be a volatile situation is actually encouraged on campus. "Bystander intervention is a hallmark of our campus culture, and the initial steps taken by students demonstrate this commitment," said Victor Arcelus, the Dean of Students at Connecticut College. Here is the full statement from Arcelus and Connecticut College:
I write to inform you about an incident that took place in one of our residence halls this past weekend. Early Sunday morning, a student called 911 and Campus Safety requesting assistance with an incident involving individuals in a residence hall room. Officers from the New London Police Department (NLPD) and Connecticut College Campus Safety responded. Before the officers arrived on the scene, students helped defuse the situation by intervening directly with the individuals involved. During the interaction between the NLPD and the individuals, the situation unfortunately escalated and resulted in three arrests. On Sunday and Monday, Student Life staff reached out to and met with the individuals involved to learn more about the incident, and we are also interviewing the Campus Safety officers present on the residence hall floor. In addition, I met with leaders within the NLPD to discuss my concerns and those raised by individuals about their interaction with NLPD officers. I appreciated learning that the NLPD has already initiated a review of the officers' actions. I will continue to be in contact with the NLPD to follow up on this case and to discuss their response protocols on our campus. Student safety is our priority at Connecticut College and members of our community take steps every day to support and protect each other. Bystander intervention is a hallmark of our campus culture, and the initial steps taken by students demonstrate this commitment. As always, I am here to talk if you have any questions.

Here is Messier's own recollection of the incident:
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Lee Messier: 'Police Brutality is a very real thing'

Postby smix » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:20 pm

Lee Messier: 'Police Brutality is a very real thing'
Facebook

URL: https://www.facebook.com/lee.messier.1/ ... 8397964205
Category: Police
Published: October 17, 2016

Description:

lee-messier-1.jpg

This past Sunday morning around 2AM I was in my dormitory building(Jane Adams) chatting with Anna in her room on the 4th floor. Anna and I had just gotten back from "Tent Dance" which is a large outdoor semi-formal event. Many alumni come back to campus in order to reconnect with friends and faculty. At Connecticut College, we call this weekend, "Fall Weekend!" Like I said, Anna and I were just hangin' in her room talking when we heard loud cries of "HELP!" coming from a woman in the room adjacent to hers. In addition to the hysterical and piercing cries, we also heard loud thumps and thuds against the wall that both rooms share. We thought to ourselves, "what could possibly be going on in there?" It was frightening to think even for a second that a woman could potentially be getting assaulted in that neighboring room. Anna and I made the decision to go into the hallway and see what was going on. When I entered the hallway and fixed my eyes onto the door where the screams were coming from I noticed that it was ajar. Now I could hear a mans voice loudly scolding the woman in the room. I knew what I had to do. I lightly opened the door and peered into the room only to come face to face with the man for a split second as he hastily walked away and down the stairs. It was very obvious he was intoxicated. One of my first instincts in that moment was to go after him because it was evidently clear that he was hurting her in some way. Instead, I remained calm and made sure to check on the woman who was still crying hysterically but now thanking me for intervening. She was lying half on the bed half off of it. The bed was pushed against the same wall that we were hearing the thumps and thuds. Anna and I invited her into her room next door. Anna wiped the makeup that was running down her face and also caressed her shoulder as tears continued to fall down. She explained that the man in the room never acted like this before and his behavior scared her so much. She explained that she broke up with him 2 weeks prior and as a result of the breakup, he was very depressed. After about a minute long conversation, she made the decision to exit the room and go into the hallway. Anna and I followed her and before we could do anything else, 7 NEW LONDON POLICE OFFICERS AND 5 CAMPUS SAFETY OFFICERS came crashing through the staircase doors. Apparently another student called the police after hearing all of the screaming and loud thumps and thuds that permeated through the hallways. Anna and I are now in shock because the officers are acting so combatively towards not only the victim but also to us. After all, we were the ones who intervened in the first place and interrupted a potentially very serious assault situation in an attempt to protect the victim, nothing more. Once the victim saw all of the officers she realized how serious the situation had become. Her hysterical cries become louder and even more hopeless. Seeing her react in this way was one of the saddest things I have ever had to witness. She even said to the police, "can you please just go away?" Anna and I knew that the victim was not going to be able to articulate what happened to her in that room. We even got the impression that she didn't want to. Therefore, we tried to get the attention of one of the officers in order to provide them with some context to the situation. After all, that's what they were asking for. It was very obvious to the officers that Anna and I were not involved with the potential domestic violence. They were trying to find the boy who was responsible but he had already left. Instead of speaking to Anna and I, campus safety officers and New London policemen yelled at us and told us to go back into our room immediately, leaving the victim out there alone with 11 grown men. One New London police officer even forced his way into Anna's room, took a look inside and then left soon after only to join the other officers in corralling the victim. The screams and cries got even louder. All of the officers were surrounding her. This must have scared her so much. In a hopeless and drunken attempt to just escape the situation, the victim made an attempt to flee down the staircase. Soon after making that decision she was bearhugged by one of the New London Police officers. Another officer began to approach her and she kicked him in the groin. This prompted the other officers to begin putting her in handcuffs. Anna and I, standing in the threshold of her door were both saying very calmly to the officers that we did not think she should be getting arrested and that we wanted to explain the situation to them before that action was taken. Immediately we were told to "get the fuck back in the room" and so we got back in the room. From here, anna and I looked at each other and realized that the New London police were acting in a very aggressive and inhumane way. We were very worried about the safety of the victim. At no point did the police or campus safety gather information from either us or the victim. Instead they frightened her even more and put her in handcuffs. This could have all been avoided if they weren't so hostile from the very beginning. They should have approached her in a way that made her feel safe instead of intimidated. Anna and I made the decision to open the door and repeat what we were saying earlier. "Officers we really don't think she should be getting arrested, let us explain what is going on." It is important to note that in this moment, Anna and I are standing right next to each other in front of her door and about 12 feet away from the victim and the arresting officer. Campus safety officer and the other New London officers filled the hallway as well. It was just Anna, the victim, and me on the fourth floor with 11 officers scattered throughout the hallway. One officer approached me with an angry and malicious grin. He tells me to, "get the fuck back in the room or I will get arrested." I say to the officer, "arrest me for what? I'm trying to help you figure this all out." Right then the officer begins to twist my arm in an attempt to handcuff me. In an instinctive response, I pull my arm away only to get it yanked behind my back aggressively, inflicting a great deal of pain on my shoulder. I let him continue man handling me but the officer takes the situation to new extremes. He pulls out a can of Mace and holds it two inches from my eyes while threatening to spray me. I was shocked and paralyzed in this moment. I could not believe what was happening. Another 3 officers grab me and plant me onto the ground and continue to lock the cuffs. I receive 4-5 direct blows to the head from one of the knees of the arresting officer. Other officers kicked me repeatedly in the back and pressed my head extremely hard into the ground. I was officially arrested for resisting arrest. I was brought to the New London Police Station and held in a holding cell for over 3 hours and then released with a misdemeanor. To this day I have not been questioned about what I saw leading up to their arrival. Police Brutality is a very real thing. I am very fortunate that this is all the physical damage that was inflicted. Things could have been a lot worse. While I was in the holding cell Anna was back at school getting questioned by area coordinators, deans, and other campus safety officers. She told me that one of the campus safety officers who was present during the entire situation said to her, "I'm just glad nobody got shot."

lee-messier-3.jpg
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Re: Lee Messier: 'Police Brutality is a very real thing'

Postby samurai » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:50 pm



The New London Police Department is committed to investigating
all complaints against its members in an open and fair manner ...


lee-messier-hickey.jpg

... with the truth as its primary objective. We think that's just a hickey.

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