January 17, 2006

Student sent to hospital after brawl with bouncer

A “scuffle” between a student and a Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer occurred early Sunday morning around 12:30 a.m., according to William Harms from the University News Office. Harms said that the student will go to court on March 9 and that the basis for the charges against the student is that he hit the policeman.

The policeman in the altercation was off duty, serving as a security guard for a party at 5401 South Woodlawn Avenue, the location of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), Harms said. He added that the student initiated the altercation after being told by the policeman that he was too drunk to enter the party. Other sources have reported that the incident began when the student refused to pay for entrance to the party.

AEPi members did not respond to the Maroon’s repeated attempts to contact them.

According to Officer Anderson of the 21st District, the CPD could not provide any information, other than the fact that CPD officers were sent to 5401 South Woodlawn Avenue after receiving calls that someone had a gun.

“The 22-year-old student in question was intoxicated and had a confrontation,” Harms said. According to Harms, the student hit the policeman, and “a scuffle ensued,” which ended in the student falling down the stairs and sustaining bruises to his legs and back. Harms said that the student was taken to the University of Chicago hospitals in an ambulance and was released after treatment.

The fraternity was throwing a public party advertised on as “AEPi Rockstar Party.” According to the ad, Rockstar Energy Drink sponsored the party.

Reports from students at a party next door confirmed that the student in question is a first-year in the College.

Conor Gaffney, a second-year in the College, was at a party next door when the events occurred. He went outside with the student’s roommate when he heard that something had happened.

“There were about four or five UCPD cars and one CPD car. [The student] was against a UCPD car [when I arrived]. He looked pretty shook up and was being asked some questions by a police officer,” Gaffney said, adding that the cop had a bruise that “wasn’t really noticeable” on his cheekbone. The student, by comparison, “looked horrible. He had several large bumps on his forehead that were bleeding…[and] most of his face [was] badly scraped. The front of his shirt was covered in blood. He was then handcuffed and shoved into a CPD car until the ambulance came.”

The UCPD, he continued, “was still really riled up and yelled and threatened to arrest us, but did nothing. The officer that [the student] had hit was also still very heated. He was…dressed in plain clothes with his badge out on a necklace, loudly telling his fellow officers about the fight.”

Gaffney thought the policeman acted unprofessionally by showing reluctance to address the surrounding students, including himself and the student’s roommate, about where the student was going and how he could be contacted.

“They were rude and made inappropriate comments, such as, ‘How do you know he isn’t al Qaeda?’ and ‘I bet you’ll hear all about police brutality in the newspapers, but no one cares about what happens to cops, look at my buddy there. All you care about is your buddy,’” Gaffney said.

Gaffney added that the “CPD and EMT crew were more professional and reasonable by far,” but that “[the student]’s condition and the UCPD’s behavior were shocking.”