Last Friday at 5:30 p.m., Public Safety (PSafe) and the Middletown Police Department responded to a phone call from Neon Deli proprietor Fran Galle regarding an altercation between himself and Henry-Louis de Kergorlay ’14. The quarrel ended when five police vehicles converged on the deli’s parking lot and arrested Kergorlay, who was released later that night.
Director of PSafe Dave Meyer said he could not comment on the incident. Galle, de Kergorlay, and several Neon employees were all unwilling to talk about the events, although de Kergorlay confirmed that he will appear in court on Monday.
“We don’t discuss these types of incidents,” Galle said. “This is a police matter.”
Rehan Mehta ’14 entered Neon along with de Kergorlay and was purchasing a sandwich at the time of the incident.
“At this time Henry was on his phone with his mother and leaning against a wall of the store,” Mehta said in a written statement to PSafe. “That wall had the beverage machines, and as soon as the owner saw Henry leaning on it with his foot against the wall, he told Henry to stop leaning. Henry figured it was because of the food/beverages and moved a little away to lean on an idle pillar.”
According to Mehta, the argument escalated from there. Galle shouted at Kergorlay as he continued to talk on the phone, and told him to leave. Mehta wrote that Kergorlay chose to stay and address the situation.
“The owner asked Henry if he was an American citizen,” Mehta wrote. “When Henry said he wasn’t, the owner said that that’s why he didn’t understand what he had done wrong. Then when Henry tried explaining himself, the owner started mocking him by imitating his French accent and hand movements. When Henry refused to leave without an explanation, the owner called the police and told them that Henry was pushing him and causing trouble in his store.”
While on the phone with the police, Mehta says that Galle told officers that Kergorlay was armed with nothing but “his hands and his mouth,” but Kergorlay responded with a sarcastic claim that he also had a firearm.
Galle acknowledged this part of the incident.
“[Kergorlay] claimed he had a weapon, specifically a gun,” Galle said. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who would endanger a customer or employee.”
Mehta, however, claimed that there was no actual misunderstanding about the nonexistent weapon.
“To make matters worse, [Galle] told this to the police, knowing Henry had no gun,” Mehta wrote. “When the police asked [Galle] to close his store, [he] said ‘I can’t close my store, there are customers here.’ This was right after he said that Henry had a gun, so clearly he knew Henry had no weapon. The arguing continued for a couple of minutes before the first police vehicle came and Henry was ordered to get on the ground. He was handcuffed on the ground and put into a police vehicle.”
Both Kergorlay and Mehta are international students, and were asked by the police to show their passports as proof of identity. Mehta then gave a written statement and left the scene.
Students have expressed a wide range of reactions to the incident online on the Wesleyan Anonymous Confession Board, ranging from a passionate defense of Galle and his store to calls for a boycott. Until Monday, or until either party can give his full version, Mehta’s remains the only direct account of the events.
“There’s no real story here,” Galle said. “It’s a lesson in stupidity.”
“[Galle] should apologize,” he said. “It would definitely be appropriate for students to boycott. I don’t plan on going back. Maybe if I’m very hungry one day.”