Orgs help students learn their rights

Meghan Parmentier

Inspired by New Haven Police Department conduct and the Operation Nightlife initiative to eliminate underage drinking from the entertainment district, Quinnipiac organizations sponsored “Don’t Get Busted” last Wednesday to inform students of their rights and how to properly assert them when dealing with police.

The event was held in the Faculty Commons Law Library, where a 40-minute documentary titled “10 Rules for Dealing with Police” aired, and New Haven civil rights lawyer William Palmieri, a specialist on police misconduct, spoke and gave advice to the inquiring audience.

“To a great degree,” Palmieri said while addressing the audience, “whether you end up on the ground with Taser things in you or whether you go on your way depends on you.”

Palmieri stressed the importance of remembering the video’s points during an encounter with the police. These points included always staying calm and cool, implementing rights such as remaining silent and refusing searches, never running from an officer or asserting physical force against one, determining when to believe an officer and when they are legally lying, being a good witness and reporting misconduct, determining when one is free to go, and not letting the police in when they do not have a search warrant.

“[Palmieri] was super charismatic and very down to earth,” WQAQ General Manager Mike Farrell said. “It was refreshing to hear someone say: these are your rights, don’t let anyone take them.”

The event came in the wake of several Internet videos that showed police officers acting aggressively towards those recording police encounters. As the Chronicle reported on Oct. 5, Quinnipiac senior Kenneth Hartford was arrested after recording an encounter outside of Toad’s Place. One week later, five Yale seniors were arrested, one Tased, during an Alchemy Nightclub raid.

Senior accounting major Jason Jacobs is the secretary of Young Americans for Liberty, one of the event’s sponsoring organizations.

“We wanted to make the students aware of what’s going on in New Haven,” Jacobs said. “Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all go to the clubs in New Haven. This is a good first step for all the students to learn about their rights in case it happens to them next.”

The event, which attracted more than 40 students, was sponsored by YAL, WQAQ, Sigma Phi Epsilon, The Society, Life and Justice Club and QU Irish Club, who provided free pizza and soda for the attendees.