Arrest Made In Alleged Rape In Occupy Tent
by Thomas MacMillan | Mar 14, 2012 11:50 am
Posted to: Occupy Wall Street
Police arrested a 53-year-old man for allegedly raping a homeless woman at Occupy New Haven.
So announced police spokesman Officer David Hartman Wednesday morning.
The victim was wheeled off on a stretcher Tuesday afternoon after she claimed a man tried to assault her in her tent.
Members of the fire and police departments responded to the Green at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday after occupiers found the woman apparently unconscious in her tent.
Fire staff treated the woman, who was inebriated and told them a man had come in her tent and tried to rape her, according to two people who spoke with the woman. EMTs took her to the hospital.
The details of the incident were unclear. Some people said it had happened Monday night. Others said it was less than an hour before police showed up Tuesday.
Police spokesman Hartman later said police believe the attack took place Monday night.
Occupier Jill Tupper said the woman had been camped for months on the upper Green, near the occupation. She initially was part of the main occupation, but people asked her to move away after people were found to be smoking crack in her tent, the occupier said.
Tupper said she’s been checking on her daily since then. She said the woman had been drinking cooking sherry in her tent.
Kenneth Driffin, a social worker who has helping move homeless people from the Green into shelters, said the woman suffered a black eye from the man who entered her tent.
Driffin said he and others had removed about 20 people out of 10 tents on the Green. He was shuttling people and their belongings to the Columbus House shelter in a white mini-van.
While some fled the Green, others dug in. Fortification of the camps central compound continued in advance of the city’s Wednesday noon deadline for people to leave Occupy New Haven.
Attorney Kevin Smith (at left in photo), who filed an injunction to block Occupy removal Tuesday along with attorney Norm Pattis, sat in the center of the camp, answering occupiers’ legal questions. He said people are nervous and anxious to know what to expect Wednesday if and when cops show up.
“A lot of these folks have never been arrested before,” Smith said. “They’re not hardened criminals.”
He adopted the language of the Occupy movement when he spoke about the Proprietors of the Green, the self-perpetuating private body that has technically owned the Green since the 17th century. “The 1 percent in the 1600s got to put in place that they were going to own this,” and they’ve handed it down among themselves ever since, he said.
Tourists stopped behind the metal fence on the Green to snap photos.
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posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 13, 2012 9:05pm
“Occupier Jill Tupper said the woman had been camped for months on the upper Green, near the occupation. She initially was part of the main occupation, but people asked her to move away after people were found to be smoking crack in her tent, the occupier said.”
This is very similar to how the early puritan residents and the merchant class in New Haven treated the poor early in the town’s history. The poor were marginalized from the town and placed on the outskirts of the 9 squares on the west bank of the west creek in an area that was known as “Sodom Hill”, which later became simply “The Hill”. These areas outside of town were the suburbs where undesirable people like the Irish and the poor were stuck next to undesirable uses like tanneries and waste deposits. This was a time before transportation innovation changed the purpose and character of suburbs, and the center of town was where business men and civic leaders conducted daily life without the nusiance of the “undesirables” in sight.
This occupation is quite the little microcosm of New Haven itself.
posted by: streever on March 14, 2012 10:02am
Jonathan, I don’t think the woman was moved to be “out of sight” as an “undesirable” but because the police came in and asked Occupy to not harbor drug dealing.
It was a respectful and reasonable request—and the Occupiers honored it, and, it sounds like Ms. Tupper was concerned for the woman’s safety and choose to keep an eye on her.
Maria was being a good neighbor and a kind person. Not sure what part of this is “similar” to society abandoning people from lower socio-economic statuses.
Do you mean to imply that the Occupiers have an actual obligation to tolerate drug dealing, an obligation that neither you, nor I, nor the police, nor our government bears?
Do you mean to imply that Occupy has an obligation to bear more than others?
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 14, 2012 1:12pm
Its not a perfect analogy, nor was that comment meant to be taken as serious criticism, but since it has been taken seriously I guess I’ll go with it.
I understand why drug use was marginalized within the occupation - it’s undesirable for the people organizing the movement. I also understand why Irish immigrants were located on the outskirts of town - their worker culture and choice of low-class drug, which at that time was whiskey, was undesirable to the religious and mercantile folks who wanted a town center that was beautiful and presentable.
For such a progressive movement that advocates for the common good and communal responsibility, I’m surprised at the very traditional approach ONH had towards dealing with undesirable uses.
Early New Haven leaders wanted a beautiful town center as the setting for their daily lives in addition to a presentable place for important political of commercial visitors. They achieved this by laying out grand streets, erecting great buildings and marginalizing undesirable uses to the outskirts of town. The Irish worked long hours doing extremely difficult work, but were paid minimally and as a result many resorted to heavy drinking and lived in shack-like tenements. Rather than changing the conditions that caused this undesirable behavior, New Haven’s leaders just pushed these people to the periphery.
Progressive reforms that promoted health, recreation and civic organization didn’t come until the late 19th Century with the Parks Movement and the City Beautiful, which built parks like Edgewood Park and new municipal and civic buildings like the library and the train station.
ONH wants to create a new economy and a more equitable society (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/coming_soon_to_the_green_—_occupiers_and_a_micro-economy/), yet they’re recreating the same system we used in establishing this country within their own occupation community rather than following progressive models.
In a society of free enterprise and individual responsibility, people don’t have an obligation to deal with the undesirable behavior of others, but in a progressive community of communal responsibility and shared wealth there is a responsibility to the downtrodden and those in need. So if ONH can’t take the progressive approach to dealing with the downtrodden within their new community, what makes them think we as a society can do it?
And what law school did Attorney Kevin Smith go to? “The 1 percent in the 1600s got to put in place that they were going to own this,” and they’ve handed it down among themselves ever since.”
In other words, the land is privately owned but leant out for public use.
Wow. Slap the cuffs on the Proprietors; they’ve inflicted mass enjoyment on New Haveners for 400 straight years.
“The Irish worked long hours doing extremely difficult work, but were paid minimally and as a result many resorted to heavy drinking”
A brave generalization, Mr Hopkinss.
An interesting study of different immagrant populations done at Yale several decades ago was cited by Malcolm Gladwell,
in a discussion of cultural constructs as modifiers and predictors of behavior drinking patterns and behavior when drunk.
hard work does not necessarily correlate with hard drinking. Culture may be as or more important in determining a persons relationship with alcohol.
Its sad and ironic that ONH shunned this woman and this terrible thing happened. Still want to support the homeless looking to camp outside of shelters? News flash…shelters don’t allow intoxication so providing alternative camping give addicts an excuse to continue drug and alcohol abuse.
Personally, I support housing for the homeless, but only if its warm, dry and safe.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 15, 2012 12:46pm
The puritans who were extremely conservative and the commercial leaders who only drank expensive alcohol were the early leaders in New Haven that viewed Irish immigrant drinking as heavy, immoral and as an inherent part to their ethnicity. Part of these perception were informed by their bigoted views, and ignorance and intolerance of different cultures, but part of it was also based on the radical changes brought on by industrialization, which affected everything from the work day and labor to daily culture and drinking for the working classes. The regiment of industry greatly contrasted with the agrarian tradition of Ireland, which impacted the role of the village pub during the transition from Europe to American.
This wasn’t important to my point though.