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Teens Attack Jogger In Edgewood Park

by Paul Bass | Aug 2, 2013 9:47 am

(37) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Parks, Edgewood, Westville

In the wake of a group attack on a jogger by Edgewood Park, a top cop is urging people to take precautions while exercising in public.

The attack occurred after a rain shower last Friday around 5:30 p.m.

The victim, a 63-year-old retired state employee who lives in the Beaver Hills neighborhood, described what happened in an interview with the Independent on Thursday. He asked that he remain anonymous.

The man said he has jogged regularly since moving to Beaver Hills in 1988. The asphalt road through Edgewood Park is one of his routes.

It had just stopped raining when he jogged along the route last Friday afternoon. Fewer people than usual were out.

He had passed the duck pond and was jogging along the road toward the skateboard park when between five and seven teens “came riding past me.” He had moved to the side to let them pass.

“I heard someone say something about ‘turning around,’” the man recalled. Then he saw one of the teens get off his bike and roll it at him. The rolling bike knocked the jogger down.

He got up. “What is this about?” he remembered telling them. “I don’t have any money.”

Then one of the teens “charged at me and knocked me down” again. Others joined in and punched and kicked him repeatedly for about 20 seconds, he estimated.

“Then they got back up and took off.”

They didn’t check his pockets. They wouldn’t have found a cellphone or any valuables on him if they had.

Somewhat disoriented, the man walked a trail up a slope to West Park Avenue. He realized partway up that he didn’t have his glasses. He figured that they’d been broken—and that it was more important to get help as quickly as possible.

He stopped a woman walking her dog on the street. The woman didn’t have a cell phone on her. Then the man tried flagging down passing drivers. The second driver, a parks employee, stopped and called 911. Soon cops and firefighters appeared. The man was taken by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Two of the officers went looking for the man’s glasses. They found them down in the park and brought them to the man in the hospital.

They weren’t broken.

The attack left the man with a broken arm and stitches in his forehead.

“It could have been worse,” he reasoned Thursday. He said the incident was not in any way of the magnitude of the bloodying of a New Haven Power Sports technician on Goffe Street the previous Friday afternoon. (Read about that here.)

Top Westville cop Sgt. Renee Forte emailed members of the neighborhood’s management team this week to tell them about the incident and warn them to take precautions while exercising in public.

Forte said she hadn’t heard about the incident initially; it didn’t appear in police department media releases, nor was it mentioned during this week’s CompStat data-sharing meeting at police headquarters. She said she learned about the incident from a New Haven Independent reader who saw it referenced in the site’s comments section. She then followed up with the victim, calling him at his home.

“Unfortunately assaults and fights happen frequently” and don’t always rise to the attention of district managers, Forte said. She cautioned against comparing this incident to the bloodying of the New Haven Power Sports technician.

In her email to community management team members, she added this advice:

“Please be mindful of your surroundings when walking/running/exercising. Please try to do these activities without talking on your cell phones or listening to music, as those make you less aware of the surroundings and also make you more of a target for robberies.”

The victim, meanwhile, said he does plan to resume jogging when he recovers from his injuries—“although I don’t know how I’ll feel about jogging on that route.”

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posted by: oldtimer on August 1, 2013  4:52pm

The Top Cop was not aware of the incident. There seems to be a major breakdown in communication between the District Manager and the District Officers. There also seems to something amiss if the incident, of such violence and injury was not picked up by Detectives and discussed at the Com Stat meeting. Nothing mentioned about more patrols/bicycle officers/investigation, just a it of blaming the victim. And as a aside, the comment about not bringing a cell phone,, Um no more Call Boxes and almost no pay phones,and what I have seen in most parks never a Police Car.

posted by: Wooster Squared on August 1, 2013  5:17pm

“In the wake of a group attack on a jogger by Edgewood Park, a top cop is urging people to take precautions while exercising in public.”

I’m getting sick of this nonsense advice given out freely by New Haven’s finest.

What does that even mean, “take precautions”? Does it mean I start jogging with a gun? Does it mean I don’t go to the park at all? Does mean I frantically look over my shoulder and panic every time I see a group teenageers?

There’s no realistic concrete action you can take based on this advice.

How about this: instead of issuing vague and meaningless statements, like “take precautions”, NHPD should actually get the crime in this town under control?

This is why New Haven can’t hold onto to its middle class. People don’t want to “take precautions”, they want to live in safe neighborhoods where people don’t get attacked in the park.

I very much doubt that people in Madison, Guilford or Old Saybrook think about “taking precautions” every time they go out jogging. Silly fools! They just expect their towns to be safe, which of course is what they get.

Unfortunately, city leaders and the NHPD have resigned themselves to the fact that they can’t now, and never will get crime under control. Instead, we’re all supposed to “take precautions”.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on August 1, 2013  5:32pm

“Please be mindful of your surroundings when walking/running/exercising. Please try to do these activities without talking on your cell phones or listening to music, as those make you less aware of the surroundings and also make you more of a target for robberies.”

Does this mean that the best way for me to be safe is protect myself? Does this mean that the police are aware but powerless? It feels like this town is being completely taken over by gangs of young violent people on dirtbikes and skateboards. I feel like I’m in a bad 1980s movie.

posted by: KAV on August 1, 2013  6:01pm

Ah, this article brings back fond memories of my time living in the Elm City. I lived in New Haven for almost twenty years and I would have to say that overall I almost always felt safe, but there were exceptions. I can relate to this gentleman’s unfortunate experience. Fortunately my experience turned out somewhat better. I was a NH schoolteacher at the time living on Alden Avenue. I would run everyday through Edgewood Park and always with my radar on max. Several times I had noticed groups of young men throughout the park and would always reroute my run in order to avoid any possible confrontations. One time however three young men started to approach me on bikes and when they were about thirty feet away they threw down their bikes and began running towards me. I steeled myself for a deeply physical encounter. Just when these young men were about ten feet away, one of three yells out,“Hey its Mr. H., my teacher! Almost as if by magic the three young men stopped, turned around, ran back to their bikes and rode away, One of the three was a former student of mine. The only moral I took from this story was that this young man and I had previously bonded to some degree because of a previous positive relationship and this saved me from a possible beat-down and saved him from committing a crime. The positive power of developing positive personal interactions and experiences can never be underestimated.

posted by: newaroundhere on August 1, 2013  6:14pm

Google: Knockout game.  Cops are unwilling to talk about it or admit it is a problem.  To be fair, I don’t know the specifics of this particular incident.. for all I know the perpetrators could be green plaid and the victim purple polka dots. However, the more I hear about these kinds of incidents around town, the more I have to wonder….

posted by: ohnonotagain on August 1, 2013  6:18pm

To the victim all I can really say is that I am so sorry this happened to you. I’m not even sure jogging with a partner would make a difference when you are being attacked by 5-7 young men. You can be told what to be mindful of when out exercising…....but would that have really done anything to prevent this assault. I just don’t think so unfortunately. New Haven has beautiful parks and it is a shame that anyone would be afraid to use them. That does seem to be the case with many folks that I know. Sad very sad.

posted by: ebw1957 on August 1, 2013  6:31pm

On some level this crime is scarier than a mugging for money because the motive was to inflict pain - sever pain- on a defenseless man- a “joy ride” of terrorism.

This is the kind of terrorism that can decimate a neighborhood or a city and counter act all the good being done. A bet there will be plenty of police and security around for the tennis tourney now.

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on August 1, 2013  8:01pm

This would be front page news in any other town. Would be nice to see the official police report

posted by: ramonesfan on August 1, 2013  8:57pm

If the jogger had a firearm and stood his ground, would the State’s attorneys office subsequently charge him with 2nd degree murder? 

Were his muggers fans of mixed martial arts fighting, or consumers of “lean”?  Had they been suspended several times this year from school?

Inquiring minds want to know.

posted by: robn on August 1, 2013  9:28pm

The boys who did this are little babies and if their friends find out they’ll probably be laughed at.

posted by: robn on August 1, 2013  10:51pm

KAV,

So what happened to the next person that your three former students decided to attack?

posted by: John Fitzpatrick on August 1, 2013  10:51pm

Epic fail by NHPD.

This type of assault—in a park, by a gang, on a single individual, with no intent other than to injure, with injuries as serious as a broken arm and a head laceration—does not happen frequently, as Sgt. Fortee claims, and should certainly, absolutely rise to the attention of the district manager.

I live close to Edgewood Park, and I walk in it almost every day. My pregnant wife walks in the park with our son in a stroller all the time. WE NEED TO KNOW WHEN CRIMES LIKE THIS HAPPEN.

I run a block watch, and I get Ofc. Hartman’s email crime reports every day, yet I don’t hear about this for a week? Are you kidding me?

And what crap about being mindful of your surroundings. This victim was completely aware of his surroundings—“He had moved to the side to let them pass”—yet he was still savagely attacked.

Unfreakinbelievable.

posted by: Tylerd182 on August 2, 2013  4:03am

New haven police dept. case # 13-33366 describes an extremely similar attack in the same location that occurred on Sunday, July 21, in the early afternoon.  If proper action was taken, and a constant patrolling officer was placed at the park, this attack could have been prevented.

posted by: WestvilleAdvocate on August 2, 2013  8:51am

I saw this story via a management team email I am part of and I am glad that the NHI picked up the story.  Why this is not considered a major incident during police meetings is ridiculous!

I am also an avid jogger and live near the park but, sadly, never jog or walk in the park anymore.  I feel unsafe and know that a call to police will usually result in nothing, unless you have the ability to wait 45 minutes for them to show up.

I see a few issues here that need to be addressed: lack of affordable afterschool and summer programs for our city teens, very poor response time from our police, and a serious shift in the way children are being raised.

Sadly, New Haven is stuck in a game of race vs. race, poor vs. middle class, and our neighborhood vs. their neighborhood.  It will not change because there is too much red tape and no one is willing to have a REAL conversation.

For me, it is time to move on and think about how to get out of this city.  I’m sad because I’ve invested in living here but the reality is this city may be getting better in the tiny downtown core but everywhere else its getting worse, taxes are going up, and services and good old-fashioned friendliness are gone.

I also understand why many of my friends now have pistol permits and carry weapons.

posted by: Ali on August 2, 2013  9:03am

First, I wish the victim a speedy recovery and second, I’m glad the NHI finally made this a story.  I saw the comment here last week and yet it wasn’t until two days ago that the neighborhood was alerted by email. 

We’re told not to let this stop us from going to the park, and yet somehow, if a crime occurs the commonplace platitudes come out like take precautions, don’t do this…don’t do that.

“Take precautions”??  This man wasn’t with valuables or headphones, was in the park at a reasonable time of day and was aware of his surroundings.  If he HAD been carrying a cellphone which may or may not have been taken, he would probably have been told he shouldn’t be carrying valuables.

I’m glad Forte did finally follow up with the victim and alert the neighborhood, but it is downright shameful that this was considered a non-incident and not worthy of taking up meeting time because “assaults are commonplace”. 

So, does this mean the area will finally get at least a bike cop?  Somehow, I think I already know the answer.

posted by: Ali on August 2, 2013  9:10am

John Fitzpatrick - I’m curious, I’m guessing you didn’t hear about the case referenced in the comment by Tylerd182 New haven police dept. case # 13-33366?
Tylerd182—where do you find that information?

posted by: wendy1 on August 2, 2013  9:22am

Thank you NHI for the report and thank you Wooster Squared’ I agree.  I have been a victim of “wilding” but it was in NYC and it was 1965.  I was on my way to my shrink at the time and I told her I understood the rage because I knew if I had been black and down south, I would have been dead.  I was a SNCC member.

The racial/economic divide is worse then ever.  New Haven continues to have plantation politics which ignores reality here like most other cities.  The popular candidate is a wealthy, elderly slumlord.  The cops don’t live here and there aren’t enough beat-walkers.

I wish more people went to city hall and the chief’s office to complain and I wish more voters had a brain.

posted by: ebw1957 on August 2, 2013  9:27am

I hope the NH-I and all the other local media are after every one of the Mayoral candidates and asking their opinions of this situation, and what if elected, what they aim to do to assure the taxpayers of New Haven—who own these parks and streets, what they plan to do to make them feel safe and to bring these terrorists to justice.

posted by: DavidK on August 2, 2013  9:56am

perhaps we need a stop and frisk law in new haven. And yes, profiling based on crime statistics in the neighborhood is a good idea. Also, why didn’t any witnesses come forward on the goffe street attack. I’m sure plenty of people saw what happened.

posted by: 32knot on August 2, 2013  10:19am

We have all been wringing our hands over econmic disparity, poor vs middle/upper class conflict, lack of stuff for our kids to do and all kinds of other issues for over 60 years. lots of ideas kicked around and some tried, both locally and nationally. Nothing seems to be effective and now that the kids are mobile on bikes no neighborhood is now “safe”. Those that can are leaving the city and nobody blames them. Instead we tell the victims they didn’t do something correct or they were in the wrong place. The police are hamstrung by policies that in some cases prevent active engagement, see dirt bike pursuit. The new mayor is not going to fix this problem. Yale is not going to fix this problem and neither is the state or the Feds. We the people in the neihborhoods are the ONLY ones who can impact this issue. If we don’t want to directly confront the bad guys then tell the cops who you saw do what, ID the bad actors and their families and lets show a little local courage in order to get back control of our kids and city. Otherwise violence will be met with violence some time in the near future and some grieving family will be telling the media what a good kid their son/daughter was when in fact the kids were with the wrong crowd and picked on the wrong person who fought back when faced with a 5 on 1 situation.

posted by: OhHum on August 2, 2013  10:44am

Isn’t it a felony to assault someone over the age of 60. If so, these 5-7 kids committed felonies, and we shouldn’t compare it to the other beating. WOW! Here’s the message: You’re old, you’re a target, stay in your house or move out of New Haven. You’re the problem.

posted by: LadyERT on August 2, 2013  11:02am

For some reason there has been no mention of the female security officer that was attacked by a group of teens on Orange St just Monday night on her way to work on State St. I see on another site that some are trying to make this out to be a racial issue. It is not. It is an issue of some teenagers running amok in our neighborhoods. Maybe WE should ALL police our neighborhoods and let these kids know they can not run all over and hurt people.

posted by: PH on August 2, 2013  11:12am

No description of the attackers?  What kind of bikes were they riding?  What kind of clothes?  Were they young teens or older?  What direction did they bike off in?  No requests for the public to provide information if they saw this group of teens in the neighborhood at the time of the incident?  Any similar incidents with a similar M.O.?  What kind of precautions other than not carrying a device (which this victim was not doing) should we be taking to protect ourselves when exercising in public in broad daylight—run the other way or scream bloody murder whenever we see a pack of kids on bikes?

posted by: Noteworthy on August 2, 2013  11:17am

If I jogged or walked through that park, I’d be packing heat like the Edgewood Patrol. Wilding kids would not do it again.

posted by: RCguy on August 2, 2013  12:26pm

i agree that the “take precautions” lecture is played out and sad.

Not very welcoming.

posted by: Tylerd182 on August 2, 2013  12:46pm

To Ali and PH:

I know the case number, because I was the victim.  (case #13-33366, Officer Q. McArthur took the report, it took the police 20-30 minutes to show up after I called 911, the report contains a full DETAILED description of the attack, the teens, and the bicycles).  I just gave a full description of the attack and the gang members to the writer of the above story, so look for a future article soon. 

If anyone knows anyone else I can contact or call, please comment here.

posted by: Colin M. Caplan on August 2, 2013  12:49pm

To show you readers, the brave victim, cops and others who enjoy our parks and exercising in them, that punks don’t rule here, I’m going for my routine run in Edgewood Park today.

posted by: robn on August 2, 2013  1:08pm

It would be imprudent for a jogger in the woods to carry a pistol; A) because its clunky to carry when you’re running; B) because in jogging gear the pistol will be evident and to someone concealed aside a trail, it might be more of an attraction than a deterrent.

I suggest pepper spray; its light, can be kept in hand, is effective on a group and can ruin someone’s day if they get out of line.

I’d love nothing more than to see these 5-7 punks run out of the forest red faced, screaming and crying.

posted by: ebw1957 on August 2, 2013  1:29pm

Dear Sir [Tylerd182]- please note you have many of us on your side and who are really pissed off. I want to hear from the mayoral candidates if they would jog through this park alone.

posted by: robn on August 2, 2013  2:30pm

EBW1957,

Since East Rock is considered by most of the city to be a bastion of privilege and safety I just thought I’d mention that although some people do walk and run alone through East Rock park, many do not. As recently as 2009, there have been serious assaults there.

My point is that its unrealistic to think police can patrol every inch of the woods in the most heavily park-forested small city in the US. People should use the buddy system when going into in the forest.

posted by: Tylerd182 on August 2, 2013  3:10pm

robn:

We are not talking about East Rock.  We are talking about an area just steps away from a public water fountain, soccer field, playground, and skatepark.

posted by: robn on August 2, 2013  3:48pm

More like a couple of hundred feet away from the soccer fields. Far enough through a dense group of trees to dampen cries for help.

http://goo.gl/maps/9KQmP

posted by: REWARD on August 2, 2013  4:36pm

REWARD!!  Now that I have your attention.  I am interested in starting a reward account for information leading to the arrest of those involved in this attack.  I pledge $100 to start and will check the comments frequently over the weekend to assess the level of interest.  I’ve already discussed how to do this with a local bank and if we are serious about stopping this I believe it is an effective solution.  Money can be quite an incentive for one to turn in one’s “associates”.  I also believe an adult crime justifies adult treatment which includes plastering their names and faces on the news. Likely their parent (parents?) may not appreciate but what responsibility are they taking for their offspring?  Having a baby is easy, the rest of it is work.  So let’s start a REWARD fund and see what happens.  I, for one, don’t get much else for my taxes in this city other than the use of Edgewood Park.  Having just paid $2k in automobile taxes I know the $ isn’t going to repair roads.  While I have the floor, has anyone else noticed the glaring absence of any mention of fiscal responsibility and overall from the mayoral candidates?  Reading between the lines it seems like full speed ahead for more programs and handouts.  We’re already paying for school breakfast and lunch, what’s next, boxed dinners and perhaps dorms so the “parents” don’t have to do anything?

posted by: anonymous on August 2, 2013  7:56pm

Can the victims be paid to drive around in an unmarked car until they see the perps again? It’s likely they live nearby. These attacks are relatively rare occurrences and doing this might help save the next victim.

I would like to see the Downtown Ambassador type program extended out here. They are the eyes and ears- if the Police Union allowed this, it would dramatically cut crime. Most cities do this, recognizing that paying officers who make an average of $100,000+ after benefits is a great idea but is simply not feasible. Plus, Ambassadors could be hired from among city residents, not from out of town which is where nearly every cop lives (and which is a huge part of the deeper problem here. )

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on August 2, 2013  8:12pm

As far as I am aware there has only been one candidate with the courage to event skirt the edge of our current fiscal plight.  All the rest are just promising everyone else what they’ll hand out before we go belly up.

posted by: Edward_H on August 3, 2013  9:01am

For those who are thinking about going to the park armed please realize law abiding citizens are not allowed to carry weapons in the park.

http://cityofnewhaven.com/Parks/ParksInformation/edgewoodpark.asp

Robn

“It would be imprudent for a jogger in the woods to carry a pistol; A) because its clunky to carry when you’re running; B) because in jogging gear the pistol will be evident and to someone concealed aside a trail, it might be more of an attraction than a deterrent.”

Please don’t spread false information. There are plenty of small light handguns that are suitable for carrying while jogging. A Kel-Tec 380 is the first one that popped to my mind. There are also tons of holster designed specifically for that purpose. Just goggle “gun holster for jogging”.

Usually your comments are pretty spot on. I don’t know why you would spread such false information.

posted by: A Contrarian on August 4, 2013  12:05am

Quinn Meadows: 

There’s only one Cassandra here.  The others can’t conceive of New Haven going “belly up” as they dream of carting away Yale’s riches and soaking the undeserving well-off residents of East Rock/Prospect Hill.

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