An anti-Donald Trump protest in New Haven ended with cops arresting two demonstrators — and fending off a state canine.
Under the banner of “No Ban No Wall New Haven,” some 200 protesters marched downtown against President Trump’s executive orders to ban travelers from entering the U.S. from seven Muslim nations and to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
They marched to Route 34, a state road, around 5 p.m. and blocked traffic. State police arrived on the scene.
“They started walking toward us with dogs. We waited for them to give us the order to get arrested. But it never happened,” said John Lugo of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), one of the groups organizing the protest.
According to a state police arrest, the demonstrators “obstructed an ambulance carrying a critically ill patient. Due to this delay ambulance personnel were required to perform an emergency medical procedure in the ambulance instead of at the hospital.” (Asked if the patient in the ambulance was OK, a state police spokeswoman responded, “Contact the hospital.” A hospital spokesman said he did not have information.)
At that point in the event, it was state police handling the crowd.
Attorney Patricia Kane said she had told police she was there representing the group. “Who is the leader of the group?” she said the police demanded. She said she responded that the group had no leader.
Kane said state police were acting in a hostile manner toward the demonstrators. “The trooper with the dog frightened everybody. The dog jumped on me. Shades of Selma.”
After about a half hour, according to Lugo, the marchers did leave the scene. They marched back toward the Green.
Once the demonstration was back on city streets. New Haven police joined the dozens of state cops on the scene. State police went looking for the veteran city protester Norman Clement, one of several organizers who had been directing the crowd through a bullhorn.
Meanwhile, a city police officer asked one of the protesters to move out of the way of an emergency vehicle, according to shift commander Lt. Sam Brown. Brown said the man refused to move. “The officers tried to guide him out of the way. He pushed an officer trying to get back.” The officers brought him to the ground and arrested him. (See photo at the top of the story.)
The arrestee, a barista at a downtown coffee shop, could not be reached for comment as this story was published.
“I was in the area at the time police piled on him. I do not believe he was engaged in anything that warranted the action,” said Kane, who is serving as his attorney. She said she has not yet been able to speak with her client about the incident.
After his arrest, members of the crowd asked police about it. The state police who were looking for Clement caught up with him. He still had his megaphone. Lugo said Clement asked the officers through the megaphone why the other man had been arrested.
“Clement ran from law enforcement personnel through the crowd, knocking over several of his supporters, before being apprehended. Clement actively resisted arrest and was sprayed with capstun,” the police report stated. They charged him with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, interfering with police, and reckless use of the highway by a pedestrian.
Clement could not be reached for comment. Lugo, who witnessed the events, said Clement was trying to avoid the pepper spray. “Norman tried to run. Then he got pushed to the ground” by several officers, Lugo said.
Attorney Kane, who also represents Clement, said Clement ran because a police dog “lunged at him.” She said officers chased him and pepper-sprayed him three times. She said she has video — which she doesn’t want to release yet — of a state police dog snarling at protesters and of cops knocking over an elderly woman. She called it “a police riot.”
In the confusion, state police dogs got “rambunctious” and ended up biting two city cops and a state cops, according to New Haven Assistant Police Chief Tony Reyes. He said the three cops had minor injuries.
Local police detained a third New Haven man but released him without charge, he told the Independent.
Clement was released on a $5,000 bond. He has a Feb. 13 court date. He went to the hospital Saturday night for treatment.
The barista was charged him with disorderly conduct and released him around 9:30 p.m., Kane said.
As protests have become daily occurrences here and across the nation in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration and stream of controversial executive orders, New Haven police this week were holding meetings to prepare for an extended period of demonstrations.
“It’s happening,” Reyes said. “We have to be ready to deal with and try to do it in a way that balances our commitment to community policing while keeping our officers safe.”
Police never mentioned an emergency vehicle being stuck in traffic. On the ground protesters heard that there was someone in a car that was pregnant and the protesters opened up the lane the car was in. Much of the traffic could be seen and no flashing lights were used. Officers made that as a excuse to use force or didn’t take precaution to handle the situation effectively. They were looking to show force and that was the ticket they used.
Additionally, arrestees were in a large group of people, not on their own. At this point police were shoving and hitting every protester they got near. It was, again, a show of force more then a concern for public safety.
posted by: Sohores on February 5, 2017 1:22am
This is unexceptable. I was out there and these police were horrible. We were there exercising our right to free speech and next thing we know there are dogs!!. These officers, especially the New Haven officers need better training and why wasnt our Police Chief out there? Why hasnt he spoken aboiut this? Who called for the state police to come? How would the State police know unless someone from the NHPD called for help?. If New Haven pd cant handle their own issues and had to call for outside help, then there needs to be new leadership! I hate to see what the police will do when ICE comes here. Sanctuary city my a**.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 5, 2017 2:41am
Donald Trump won today, and Lugo is an out-of-control idiot.
posted by: narcan on February 5, 2017 4:36am
@DMV23: I guess the vehicle containing a pregnant woman the protesters so graciously allowed free passage on a public street was not the American Medical Response ambulance with lights and siren activated that I saw drive west on North Frontage Rd across Church St within 60 seconds of the Oak St Connector being cleared?
It’s one thing to march around the green to make your statement. This is New Haven, we are accustomed to that. It is an entirely other thing to block major arteries of travel, obstructing free passage, and hindering emergency response. That is a huge step over the line of what is acceptable and protected free speech and what wanders into criminal action.
posted by: jim1 on February 5, 2017 6:30am
The cops dogs must not like Trump and don’t want the wall.
posted by: wendy1 on February 5, 2017 7:41am
Sorry I missed the march but I’m going to one today. Many of my brave friends were at cityhall Sat. and I thank them profusely.
posted by: Peter99 on February 5, 2017 8:08am
What part of you are breaking the law are the protesters having difficulty understanding. When you break the law there are consequences. When you bring your lawyer with you, you are expecting trouble and they got it. Riots, protests or whatever you wish to call it have consequences just like elections. Once you start civil disobedience, anything can happen up to and including being injured or worse. Accept this or do not participate in an action which in all probability will get out of control. The taxpayers of New Haven will pay the police overtime costs so you can have your fun. Have your vocal demonstration legally, get your press coverage and the go home. Do not provoke the police to take action and then cry about what happens. The idiot that selected the area around the hospital emergency room should be put in jail for being stupid, in addition to the actual crimes that were committed.
We are stuck with Donald J. Trump for four years. He could care less that people are protesting. The loyal political opposition, the lawyers and the courts will deal with his idiotic executive orders.
posted by: Noteworthy on February 5, 2017 8:20am
1. These endless protests and now dangerous and lawbreaking ones blocking traffic on a major road is dangerous as it is disgusting.
2. Do these people really think that disrupting the lives of others, putting their health and safety at risk is winning any hearts? Changing minds?
3. It’s great they had dogs. This isn’t Selma and nothing about it resembles Selma.
4. Patricia Kane’s version of what unfolded is highly suspect.
5. Why people can be so riled over controlling our borders is mindless. Every country I’ve traveled to controlled their borders and under what circumstances one can immigrate there. Not one just had open borders. None.
posted by: Chowdha on February 5, 2017 8:34am
Lets look at other protests in New Haven by groups of about 200 people back in 2011. That blocked the streets.
@DMV if you are concerned about public safety then don’t be blocking a highway. I support your right to protest but do you really believe that being an inconvenience to others is actually going to change anything.
posted by: Gomu on February 5, 2017 8:40am
Only a really sick group of people would block a road that is a major thoroughfare for a hospital.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on February 5, 2017 9:05am
There is an absolute right to protest but there is no right to block traffic or endanger people’s lives.
posted by: ILivehere on February 5, 2017 10:13am
It doesn’t make any sense to protest in New Haven. You are running up police overtime costs in a broke city that votes Dem. go find the largest republican city in the state and go protest there. All you are doing in New Haven is spending money we don’t have to show people who agree with you that you are mad.
Agreed with those above who argue that blocking an emergency route is counter to constructive disobedience. This action will ultimately shrink the size of the crowds willing to come out in support.
posted by: GroveStreet on February 5, 2017 11:52am
What is the point of this? Six of every seven people in New Haven voted against Trump. The only things this strategy is doing is costing us money and pissing off people who are already sympathetic.
Why don’t these folks do something constructive like developing a plan to make change. Stand around with signs doesn’t do that. Wandering around shouting like an idiot in a place that agrees with you doesn’t do that. Fundraising to make things uncomfortable for people who support Trump or stay in his properties? That’s a start.
Do something grown up.
posted by: The Rock on February 5, 2017 12:11pm
No you should not block the street however this whole protest should have been pre planned by the police so they kniew how to respond. This whole situation was a mess on both sides. I dont believe that protesters blocked the street on purpose. There were so many people out there the ambulance was slowed due to the numerous people in the street who were trying to get out of the way. I hope this statement by police of people not moving for an ambulance a way of justifying their actions. The WTNH news story has said they have reached out to the NHPD and they have not responded. This will just escalate into a bigger story which will be seen all over the country.
posted by: Ravenclaw on February 5, 2017 12:21pm
We’ll probably never get the whole story untangled on this one. Certainly legitimate to protest, but whether it was some protest leaders looking to stir up trouble or a police meltdown will be argued forever.
One thing seems clear: State troopers are ill prepared to manage groups of citizens, civil disobedience, etc., and also have zero connection to the community. If the seasoned protesters who apparently led this group are willing to learn, they should remain on city streets (not state routes) in future. Our City police can go overboard sometimes, but without the troopers already stirring things up (and the damn attack dogs), they might have been more restrained.
posted by: tcc036 on February 5, 2017 12:32pm
@dmv23- It’s not up to protesters to “open up a lane”. It’s a public road meant for vehicular traffic. The reason the law doesn’t allow for walking or protesting in the road is because it’s dangerous to people and a nuisance. You want to protest, go hold a sign on the green or town hall. Your group(s), because we all know it’s like 8 groups banding together now, are only interested in civil disobedience to try and garner media coverage. You’re only trying to make the police look bad to enhance your cause. Reality check is people see through the stupid games. You think someone hurt in an ambulance or someone who is now late for work cares about your cause? Nope. You try to incite the police into responding with force because that makes news when it does. That’s why you don’t protest legally. People see through your games, though. @Sohores – No one has a problem with people exercising their right to free speech. The State Police were called because like Paul Bass noted, route 34 is a State Road. Since the State owns it, they respond first. If you’re in the road, which the pictures show the protesters were, you’re breaking the law. The law exists for a reason, and if you choose not to follow it, then controlling your group and arresting people is a good solution. Stop conflating issues. You broke the law, then you’re trying to blame your unlawful behavior on the State Police and New Haven PD. Acting Chief Campbell is doing a fine job, as is the NHPD. Think about this one tidbit: Did you ever think the reason Trump is President is because people who work hard, pay taxes, etc are tired of seeing people riot every day? These “protests” block traffic, harm civilians waiting for medical treatment, cause people to be late for work, and often end with destructions to cities. Hardworking people got tired of seeing cities burned and looted. They voted for Trump. These behaviors are the reason he got elected. Keep it up, it only helps him.
posted by: nib1 on February 5, 2017 12:38pm
First of all this was a peaceful protest to start. No one was throwing bottles at police, no one busted out store front windows but the state police show up with dogs!! They wanted a confontation. Then the protesters go into downtown New Haven. NHPD was running everywhere. There was no organization at all by the police and the only police representative speaking in this article was the newly promoted Asst. Chief Reyes. Are u kidding me? This was a complete fiasco of cops running all over the place looking for confrontations.
posted by: breakingbad23 on February 5, 2017 12:40pm
Your first amendment rights end at the tip of my nose. You do NOT get to block traffic of the main artery leading to two hospitals and call it your right.
posted by: breakingbad23 on February 5, 2017 12:46pm
Patricia Kane doesn’t want to release the video yet is lawyer speak for “we haven’t finished editing it to make the cops look bad yet”....
posted by: Elmshaker on February 5, 2017 1:04pm
I’m furious with Unida Latina… I’d been a supporter but now it’s over unless they rethink their approach and stop disrupting the lives and safety of the people they claim to speak for. I had two friends trying to get work and were late yesterday. One of these friends was an immigrant I managed to find work for. It was his FIRST DAY! And blocking an ambulance?!? By the way did Unida Latina check to see that there was a march from Cross High School to the Green on Sunday that would involve a significantly larger number of participants? If they had joined this their message might have traveled further than “they started walking towards us with dogs”. These actions do not sabotage “the state”, they sabotage the impoverished city of New Haven and its struggling WORKERS. Out of touch, out of date, and out of step- ULA needs reorganize.
Muslims need to be mindful of the Qur’an and Sunnah. We don’t block roads because it inconveniences people. We Muslims must stick to the Qur’an and not harm people and blocking roadways is a form of harm. You have people in traffic who need to get to love ones like elderly parents and sick children. Many of others are going to work to earn an honest living. Obstructing people from exercising their right to travel is contrary to what these people say they are against.
I listen to these people while downtown and they attempted to get arrested just so that they can claim police brutality and then sue the city.
posted by: alphabravocharlie on February 5, 2017 2:44pm
The ground rules for New Haven protests were established long ago by then Chief Esserman who basically followed a hands off policy in which police officers were expected to facilitate the protests and provide cover for the protesters as the meandered through downtown streets. This is not the first time streets were blocked. Vitually every protest on the Green devolves into a march which blocks or slows traffic.
The new wrinkle in this protest was that it blocked a limited access highway resulting in a response by the CSP who apparently have a different take on crowd management.
I have no inside information but I would bet that there was no prior or ongoing communication between the police and the protesters and probably not because of the police.
Going forward, the City should make clear to protesters which tactics will be tolerated and which won’t do there are no surprises.
posted by: robn on February 5, 2017 2:51pm
Clement and Lugo are counterproductive radicals who don’t understand that March permits maintain public safety while allowing free speech. That being said, its uncategorically wrong for police to use dogs to intimidate people. Working dogs are great for search and rescue (tracking), cadaver search, drug detection, and in very controlled circumstances, disarming armed assailants. They should never be trained to intimidate unarmed people or used as a weapon. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Attorney General should look into the Trooper canine program because it’s not the first time I’ve heard of this.
posted by: Bill Saunders on February 5, 2017 3:11pm
Call this what it is—A Parade without a Permit…...
Still doesn’t mean the situation wasn’t mis-handled…. It doesn’t sound like anybody needed to be thrown to the ground, here…
posted by: 1644 on February 5, 2017 3:34pm
1. The Rock: Allowing police to plan is why parade permits are required. If Clement was in fact the leader of this group, the police were not aware of it beforehand. 2. Sohores: Free speech is subject to time, place, and manner restrictions. One cannot simply go anywhere one wants and do want ever one wants. If you want to block use a street, get a parade permit. Otherwise, demonstrate somewhere you are not impeding the movement of others. Blocking access to hospitals is down-right cruel. 3. What is the point of these demonstrations? To turn the overwhelming majority of New Haven area folks who voted against Trump into Trump voting law-and-order voters? These are as silly an counter-productive as the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, which took place far from Wall Street, did nothing to impede finance, but did deprive the general public of what should have been public spaces, such as the New Haven Green. I do recall the massive demonstrations of Moratorium Day, and Nixon’s subsequent 49 state victory.
posted by: Katargyna on February 5, 2017 3:44pm
Stop excusing horrendous behavior. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that blocking highways will interfere with ambulances. Admit that you believe that your cause justifies stopping critically ill people from getting to the hospital. Stop being dishonest and say that you’d gladly sacrifice a few lives to prove a point
posted by: UnitedAsOne on February 5, 2017 3:47pm
This is an outrage, the police brutally attacked peaceful protesters!!! I have all the video evidence, I just happen to be down there. I’m glad that there is a lawyer representing the group because that is what is targeted people that are fighting for our rights. Fighting for the rights that we have as American citizens. Right To free speech, right to protest, and contest when something is wrong!!!! We are now living in a militarized police state!! The dogs were used as weapons to attack the protesters they targeted certain members that had members of the group who organize these protesters and they (police) were laughing about it! This is a disgrace that we are allowing this to go down in our country and all of you who sit back and allow this to happen it’s part of the problem !!!
posted by: Bill Saunders on February 5, 2017 5:39pm
Remember—there is always a game of cups with situations like this…...
Two half’s of the truth never make for the full story…..especially when ‘damage control’ and ‘community policing’ are involved…..
posted by: Bill Saunders on February 5, 2017 5:49pm
Maybe the dogs’ testimony will be the most valuable…..
Why were the dogs so excited and difficult to control????
Maybe they smelled ‘weed’. Maybe they didn’t like Black People.
Maybe they were an inappropriate addition to this ‘police task force’ that over-escalated a ‘situation’...
posted by: Katargyna on February 5, 2017 6:01pm
You don’t have to be a fascist to see that this headline is completely loaded. These kids want a censored media that caters to their every whim because being catered to is all they have ever known. The dog scared me! I was a militant a minute ago but now I’m a delicate hot house flower. Their favorite justification for violating everyone else’s space is this boundless concept of safety that ends at edges of their mob. We feel scared that Trump was elected by the people so we are going to take any opportunity to endanger the safety of innocent bystanders or anyone we oppose. We are going to mob professors who disagree with us while we talk about feeling unsafe in our luxury dorm rooms and we are going to start riots when someone we don’t like tries to talk. But we are all about safety. So dishonest.
posted by: narcan on February 5, 2017 6:51pm
I will look forward to seeing Atty. Kane’s footage of the arrests. Perhaps it will show the troopers consoling an elderly woman around the same time Clement was barreling down the sidewalk to evade arrest.
@The Rock: Allow me to cast your doubts aside; these people were deliberately blocking roads. On the highway exit, they were linking arms and blocking ALL inbound traffic. As I said in a prior comment, I saw the AMR ambulance with its lights and siren on that was only able to get through after CSP forced the crowd off the exits. When they began marching on Church St, anyone who was there and is being honest with you could tell you they were shouting “Take the whole road, spread out and take the whole road”.
@alphabravocharlie: ULA has a track record of doing whatever they want without regard for the rest of the city. Apparently the belief is a bullhorn and a mob gives you more rights than others. They often do not get parade permits (which is how the police would coordinate with them and avoid nonsense like this). Even when they coordinate with the NHPD, they often do not tell police their true intentions, leaving the cops scrambling to adjust to try and protect the marchers. There is NO reason police cars should be compelled to put the public at risk driving lights and siren to compensate for Lugo’s off-the-cuff antics. Get a parade permit and stick to the route if you really care about a peaceful and safe march. Otherwise, you are grandstanding and not fooling anyone.
posted by: HewNaven on February 5, 2017 6:54pm
No point in demonstrating locally about national issues. Use congress:
posted by: Boostedrotary on February 5, 2017 8:29pm
@unitedasone….your comment about freedom of speech and protest “when something is wrong” shows your simple minded view. It is when in YOUR opinion something is wrong. Not every one agrees with each other so to say “when something is wrong” is too broad of a statement. I also love how the lefties make a big deal about this minor incident because YOUR freedom of speech was interrupted but when someone who has a different opinion than you or is pro-Trump it is acceptable to act in violence as we have all clearly witnessed happening all over our nation. Freedom of speech and peaceful protest should work both ways.
posted by: UnitedAsOne on February 6, 2017 9:44am
@Boostedrotary You were not there. You did not see what was going on. So unless you seen with your own eyes or have the video evidence I have then please. Educated yourself 💯💖 And simple minded is something I am not, that is you. The ONLY PEOPLE SHO WERE ACTING VIOLENTLY WERE THE POLICE!!!! You sound invalid
posted by: ET on February 6, 2017 5:39pm
It seems the smartest one at this protest was the German Shepherd!
posted by: 17-25 on February 6, 2017 8:01pm
Noteworthy: it is not that the protesters are ‘riled over controlling our borders’ as that is illogical on all accounts. It is a mere excuse. The real problem is that they lost, they are in shock and are throwing temper tantrums. They lost and will continue to lose heartily each time they create scenes such as this. They would like for the lawlessness of the past eight years to continue, but - there is a new sheriff in town. Reality check folks.
posted by: RonF on February 7, 2017 9:55pm
The fact that the police did not tell you personally why they wanted you to get off the road is absolutely immaterial. The First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” When you are blocking a road and will not leave when you are ordered, you are no longer peaceably assembling.
“No you should not block the street however this whole protest should have been pre planned by the police so they kniew how to respond.”
Looks to me that they did plan and knew exactly how to respond. Stay out of the road. You want to protest? Great! Write letters to the editor. Make blog posts. Call the news stations. Put a sign on your front lawn. Go to the town square or some other public property and stand on a box and make your views known to anyone who cares to listen. Line up on the sidewalk with signs, as long as you don’t obstruct people. But if you get into the public roadway, the cops will clear it. They’ll ask you to move first, but if you don’t they WILL clear it. That’s what they’re paid to do. The fact that they don’t give you a reason for why that you find acceptable or don’t follow the procedure you prefer doesn’t mean a thing.