Middletown, Conn., police arrested five Wesleyan University students from an end-of-year party early Friday while using Tasers, dogs, and pepper spray to control the 200- to 300-person crowd, the Wesleyan Argus reports.
Since the crackdown—which sent two students to the hospital, one with multiple dog bites—a wave of outrage has been directed at law enforcement officials. Students filed at least 60 citizen complaints and gathered Friday afternoon to discuss what they called excessive police force. About 300 students attended the forum, and at least one suggested the need for a class-action suit.
Police and student accounts of the incident vary wildly. Police say students were partying in the street, blocking traffic, dancing, and drinking alcohol, and as more officers arrived, the party devolved into students chanting and yelling obscenities, with some throwing beer bottles and firecrackers at officers. Police also say students were given 40 minutes to disperse before police took nonlethal measures to control the situation. "It appears that the officers followed rules and regulations; they handled themselves with great restraint," said Middletown Police Sgt. Scott Aresco.
Students paint a very different picture, saying they were just "hanging out" and that police did not warn students to quiet down or go home before attacking without provocation. "They came out ready to beat the crap out of us," Wesleyan senior Erik Rosenberg said.
University president Michael Roth visited the hospitalized students on Friday and even blogged about the incident. Meanwhile, student bloggers have reported on the miniprotests that have cropped up since Friday and have encouraged their peers to write to the school, the police chief, Connecticut governor Jodi Rell, and/or the local congressional representative about their experiences.