Nine Fairfield freshmen were arrested and charged with possession of alcohol by a minor Tuesday, April 3, when Bridgeport police officers raided The Blue, a local bar frequented by students, according to recent police report.

Each student received a summons to appear in court on Wednesday, April 11. Seven of the students were charged with forgery of the third degree, while another was charged with breach of peace, all of whom were required to pay $2,500 bail, according to the report.

“It was a standard raid,” said Sgt. Bergquist of the Narcotics and Vice Division. “Undercover officers made observations regarding underage drinking.”

Bergquist also said that the bar was probably packed beyond fire code regulations. However, the police focused their attention on the underage drinking.

Bridgeport police officers arrived at 11 p.m. just before some students, including Mere Hausler ’10, arrived. Hausler said the doors were locked with everyone inside.

“It was mayhem, everyone was trying to get out,” she said.

Mike Bennett ’10 said he noticed the undercover cops inside the bar because they were not drinking.

“[Police] brought anyone they saw that was really intoxicated into the kitchen for questioning. They used force on those who weren’t cooperating,” said Bennett.

Undercover police officers selected students out of a 150-person crowd as they were leaving The Blue, an establishment located on Fairfield Avenue in Bridegport previously named Black Rock and Blue, according to one student who was arrested and requested anonymity.

The student said he noticed the undercover officers inside the bar and thought it was “weird” to see a 40-year-old woman amidst a crowd of college students.

“I didn’t really put it together,” he said, “but I did see [the female officer] watch me buy a beer. I couldn’t tell you why she picked me.”

The arrested students were brought to the Narcotics and Vice Office on River Street in Bridgeport where they were handcuffed to the table, according to the student. The student said police confiscated the students’ cell phones, wallets, keys, belts and shoelaces to be returned upon their release.

Dean of Students Tom Pellegrino said he learned of the raid the morning after it occurred.

“The code of conduct applies to matters occurring off campus, so our policies will apply, as will the ability of each student to represent his or her side of the story and to have each matter heard individually,” said Pellegrino.

The incident relates to the broader issue of programming on campus, which creates activities to keep students on campus.

Pellegrino said his office has only “scratched the surface in terms of new and innovative programming approaches,” but Student Activities and Residence Life are working to hold campus activities on weekends similar to Club 42, a 400-person dance party that was held in the Campus Center in March.

“With that said, a claimed lack of programming on campus – particularly on a Tuesday or Wednesday night – can never justify breaking the law,” Pellegrino said.

The Blue allows 18-year-old students to enter the bar, but not consume alcohol; therefore the majority of students who frequent The Blue are underclassmen. However, if students show a 21 or older ID, they receive a wristband and can drink in the bar.

“The crowd at The Blue is predominantly freshmen, some sophomores and occasional juniors. It is always jam-packed. There is always a line to get drinks,” said Craig Gibson ’09.

“I’m surprised they only got nine kids [at The Blue],” said Nick Ragosta ’08. “It [The Blue] does have 18 plus.”

Although Public Safety was not involved in the raid, Director of Public Safety Todd Palazza said there have been other incidents that occurred at and around The Blue. He referred to the bar as an “unsafe location” for students.

Yet, the bar raid last week will not affect some students’ plans to go back to the bar.

“I’d go back if I heard people were going to go,” said Alex Elkas ’10. “The Blue is kind of dumpy, but it’s a pretty good time.”

Upperclassmen recalled the police raid of another popular student bar John Adams Bar ‘ Grill, which has been since renamed NU Bar, at 2595 Fairfield Ave., in December 2004. Bridgeport police arrested 32 people at John Adams, for underage drinking, the majority of whom were Fairfield students.

In the previous incident students were also taken to Bridgeport jail and many were released on bail. Others were held in the same precinct until early morning.

Students received similar charges during this incident, including second degree forgery.

“Really all I did was get a ticket, but I had to spend the night handcuffed to the table,” said a student who was arrested in 2004 and requested anonymity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.