Corey Sobotka/Assistant Photo Editor

Vice President for Institutional Partnerships and Chief Diversity Officer Sonia Mañjon has begun an investigation into an incident that occurred on the night of Oct. 29 between a student and three Public Safety (PSafe) officers. The student, Paulie Lowther ’13, alleges that two of the three PSafe officers he encountered that night used excessive physical force against him. The officers found him in the Freeman Athletic Center while it was closed to students during Superstorm Sandy, and Lowther said the officers slammed his head against a wall and hit him in the head three times.

Lowther was charged with violating five possible Regulations in the Code of Non-Academic Conduct (CNAC): Regulation 1, Privacy and Tranquility; Regulation 2, Harassment and Abuse; Regulation 4, Property; Regulation 5, False Information; and Regulation 14, Failure to Comply. The Student Judicial Board (SJB) ruled on Lowther’s case this past Thursday, Nov. 8; the Board gave him a sanction of a deferred suspension, defined by the SJB’s website as a temporary status for a period to be established by the Board, during which the student’s standing within the University is in jeopardy. The website also says that additional violations during the probationary period will result in suspension or dismissal.

A medical note from the Davison Health Center confirms that Lowther is currently being treated for a concussion, which Lowther said was a result of PSafe’s actions that Monday night.

The incident took place around midnight on Monday in the pool area of Freeman Athletic Center, which was off-limits to students due to the late hour and the weather conditions surrounding the Superstorm. Additionally, Mayor of Middletown Dan Drew had established an 8 p.m. curfew for the city that night. Lowther, having heard from other students that a door was propped open that night, said that he entered the Athletic Center to use the sauna and pool.

Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer said that, though he cannot comment on incidents with specific students, Lowther’s account is very different from the statements from the three PSafe officers. Lowther said that he agreed there were discrepancies after looking at the officers’ statements last week and said that two students—one hiding in the sauna and one hiding in the locker room during the interaction—overheard the alleged assault against him. Both witnesses asked to remain anonymous.

Interim Assistant Director of Student Life Jonathan Connary and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Richard Culliton declined to comment on the situation and cited confidentiality reasons. Editor and New Media Writer for the Office of Communications Lauren Rubenstein wrote in an email to The Argus that Lowther made a formal complaint to Mañjon and that Mañjon is now investigating the conflicting accounts of the incident. Mañjon wrote in an email to The Argus that she is still in the process of collecting information about the incident.

The Argus has received word that the University will release a formal statement in the coming days. Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) President Zachary Malter ’13 also said that WSA members will be meeting with Lowther and various administrators to discuss how to proceed.

“We support an investigation into whether the student was being mistreated,” Malter said. “And if the student was mistreated, we will push for immediate action to be taken and policy to be reconsidered and changed.”

According to Lowther and the first witness, there were approximately five to seven other students in the Athletic Center that night. Lowther, who was nude at the time of the incident, explained that he was in the sauna with the first witness when he heard the other students yelling that PSafe had entered the building.

“I stuck my head out [of the sauna] and a PSafe officer lady saw me,” Lowther said. “So I closed the door to the sauna—I wasn’t really trying to run away at this point.”

Lowther and the first witness have both said that the female PSafe officer came up to the sauna door to ask who was inside. They said that the officer believed only Lowther was inside, and would not let him out of the sauna. Consequently, Lowther said he was asked to give his WesID number through the door. Lowther believes that in the confusion the officer wrote down an incorrect number, so that when she called it in over her radio she was told that the number was not in Wesleyan’s system.

Lowther, who was still naked, allegedly asked to use the bathroom and get his clothes, which were outside the sauna. He told the officer that his Wesleyan Track jacket was among his belongings in order to prove to her that he was a student. The officer said he could not leave the sauna.

“It’s written in her statement that I asked for my clothes,” Lowther said. “I really did it so that she would recognize I’m part of the University.”

Lowther was let out of the sauna after the arrival of a male PSafe officer, whom Lowther identified as officer #44. The first witness explained that she hid in the sauna for the rest of the interaction between Lowther and PSafe and said she was able to hear the altercation from there.

“[I could hear] the entire thing,” she said. “The sauna is adjacent to the showers, and then there’s a long hall, and it’s just in that hall that I’m assuming everything happened.”

The second witness, who was hiding from PSafe in the locker room, also confirmed that she could hear the interaction.

“I would like to note that I heard everything that went on during the incident clearly and Paulie was not treated justly by Public Safety,” the second witness wrote in an email to The Argus.

Lowther explained that officer #44 put Lowther’s hands behind his back abruptly, though Lowther said he believes the situation had been calm until that point. He said that the male officer continued to ask him for his WesID number, along with the names of the other students who were inside.

“I was like, ‘Sir, your other officer has all this information,’” Lowther said. “‘I told her who I am, I told her my address, I told her everything [about] my affiliation with campus.’ And he continued to not let my arm go and said, ‘Don’t resist.’ And I said, ‘I’m not resisting; the only thing I’m resisting is you breaking my arm.’”

Officer #44 then supposedly asked Lowther to get on the ground, a request that Lowther declined. After the two exchanged more words, Lowther said that the officer took his head and smashed it against the wall of the hall.

The first witness said she felt frightened throughout the entire interaction.

“It was really scary,” she said. “That’s the only emotion I can use to describe the situation. Because [Lowther] is not a harmful person, at all. At all. And I mean, I agree that you shouldn’t yell at people older than you, but I think they were being a little absurd, not going to lie, about the whole situation.”

Afterward, Lowther asked the officer why he had become physical. Lowther noted that he yelled the question, as well as other dialogue, loudly enough so that the student witnesses could hear what was going on in the hallway. The first witness confirmed that, even in her hiding spot, she heard Lowther’s head hit the wall. She also said that, from the dialogue outside, Lowther made it clear to her what was going on.

“He was just like, ‘You just pushed my face against this wall, I am bruised on my cheek,’” she said. “And I admit, it was getting really loud, even between the officers and Paulie,” she said. “It was really scary. I knew at this point I was never coming out because it terrified me…It was really aggressive [in] tone.”

According to Lowther, he then acquiesced to the officer’s original request and lowered himself to the ground of his own will. He said that the officer then placed his knee on Lowther’s back. Lowther maintains that he was calm throughout the situation, although Lowther said the PSafe report states that he was calm only after he was on the ground. Lowther also said that the officer continued to ask him if he knew any information about a subject in red sweatpants.

“Then officer #23 walks [over], and he keeps questioning me about the kid in the red sweatpants,” Lowther said. “I don’t know if the subject got away from him, I don’t know if the subject hit [him], but he seemed really angry for some reason. [Then] he was like, ‘And your Wes ID doesn’t check out either,’ and he just hit me three times in the face with his hand.”

Lowther claims that the two witnesses could hear the three hits from their hiding places nearby. Both witnesses corroborated this claim.

“I was just listening to the whole thing,” the first witness said. “Paulie is saying his WesID again to some other officers who come in. And then I hear like three [clapping sounds]. I had thought Paulie was clapping. And I was like, ‘Okay, I don’t know what this is.’ But then he’s like, ‘Wow, you just smacked me.’ He told us what was going on. He kept asking all the officers like, ‘Why did you do that?’ But none of the officers answered him.”

Lowther said that he remained on the ground under the force of officer #44 while officer #23 continued to ask for his WesID, to which Lowther responded by asking the officer for his badge number.

“And then after that, he kept questioning my affiliation with the University,” Lowther said. “At this point I’m still on the ground, naked, being held by this other officer with his knees in my back.”

Once the officers received word over the radio that Lowther’s WesID number was recognized, he was allowed to stand up. According to Lowther, the officers received this information about two minutes after he was struck in the face.

After PSafe allowed Lowther to stand freely and dress himself, Lowther said that he conversed with the female officer about his studies in theater at the University for about 10 minutes. He was also offered an ambulance, which he declined. During this time, a few Middletown Police officers arrived at the scene.

Lowther said that he asked the Middletown Police and PSafe officers if he was allowed to turn off the sauna, to which he did not hear a response. He said that he did so anyway.

“So I walked over, and I turned it off really quickly,” he explained. “And [a Middletown Police officer] said, ‘You don’t listen to instructions very well, do you?’ and I said, ‘No, maybe you should speak with a little bit more projection or a little more diction,’ and that’s when the PSafe officer decided that I needed to be in handcuffs.”

Middletown Police then placed Lowther in handcuffs and escorted him outside. He was then returned to his home on Fountain Avenue.

In the days following the incident, Lowther met with Dean for Academic Advancement and Dean for the Class of 2013 Louise Brown, as well as Connary and Culliton.

“I went into North College [last]  Wednesday morning,” Lowther said. “I just feel like they always take Public Safety’s word over anyone else’s. They were saying my story was a bit theatrical in comparison to the other stories. But then reading Public Safety’s story I was like, ‘Wow, I can tell why.’”

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Lowther went to the Davison Health Center and later received a medical note signed by Medical Director for Wesleyan Athletics Adam Perrin. The note states that he is receiving treatment for a concussion.

Both the Hartford Courant and the Middletown Patch published articles on Nov. 6 pertaining to the incident involving Lowther and PSafe. The two articles say that Lowther appeared intoxicated and tried to run away from the officers at full speed. The articles also quote Lowther as saying, “If I had a baton, I would beat you with it.”

Lowther said that he was not intoxicated that night, and that if the officers had breathalyzed him, he would have been well under the legal limit. The first witness agreed with this statement.

The second witness said that she was surprised by parts of the articles in the Hartford Courant and Middletown Patch.

“I know [that Lowther running away at ‘full speed’] is false because during the entire interaction they were right on the other side of the locker room door, their voices didn’t get further away,” she wrote in an email to The Argus. “Seeing as Paulie is one of the fastest sprinters on the track team, if he had tried to run away at full speed he would have gotten further than the 2 feet of space they occupied right behind the door.”

She also contested the quote from Lowther saying that he would beat the officers with a baton if he could.

“Paulie said almost exactly ‘If you were beating me with a baton I would be resisting you but I am standing here on my own accord’ (may have been my own free will),” she wrote. “I am not entirely sure, but I remember this exchange of words.”

According to Lowther, he is being charged with Criminal Trespass and Breach of Peace, and he will appear in the Middletown Superior Court on Nov. 9.

Contributing Writer Stephanie Ling contributed reporting to this article.

For an interview with Lowther, see Wesleying’s coverage of the incident here.

  • Alum ’12

    Paulie is one of the most peaceful, respectful people I met in my time at Wes. I want the names of the PSafe officers published. Badge numbers mean nothing to anyone outside of the administration. I’d take his word over anyone’s — public safety, another student — anyone, in a heartbeat.

    • ’12

      Agreed that Paulie is a good dude and I believe him completely, but that hyperbole is a little ridiculous, Fish.

      • Adam F ’12

        Eh, perhaps. I stand by it though, especially if it’s his word vs psafe’s.

  • Alum ’12

    with Sonia Mañjon in charge of the case, you can be assured the investigation will go nowhere. I’m sorry this happened to you Paulie, you did not deserve this treatment.

  • Student ’12

    This is awful. Amongst other things, action MUST be taken against P-Safe. There is absolutely no excuse for the level of brutality agains Mr. Lowther. I think the University should be ashamed of itself–every person who has tried to sweep this under the rug or spin it to look like it is purely Mr. Lowther’s fault is doing a major disservice to the community and STUDENTS OF COLOR most of all.

  • student ’13

    I am sickened by this. Is there anything I can do as a student to help insure that Paulie’s side of the story is heard and respected? Also, how can we identify these officers based on their badge numbers? If the university is going to believe their side of the story, I think we should be allowed to hear it.

  • Alum ’98

    While I wasn’t in the room and can’t say that PSafe didn’t overstep any bounds, let’s step back for a second here: officers finds a big, naked guy in a closed building, who can’t produce a valid WesID number, and they’re supposed to just believe he’s a student, and that he’s sober (which he admits he wasn’t), and that he’s in no way a threat?

    Granted, it should have been more obvious he was a student once he started complaining that his restraints were too restraining, and complaining about his face being pushed against a wall, things anyone in the real world would simply expect. That’s far better evidence of his being a student than some jacket.

    • Wow

      You racist pig. PSafe is not the police. The police isn’t allowed to do this stuff, PSafe certainly can’t. Your argument that it exists does not mean it should be allowed.

      A threat? What is he going to do beat up psafe? Good thing Psafe got to it first, huh? What is psafe’s job, to apprehend trespassers using force? I don’t think so. They are a joke of an institution and if they think they need to do anything more than just tell people to leave, they are sorely mistaken. This is pathetic and disgusting. As are you.

      • Alum ’98

        It’s PSafe’s job to apprehend trespassers and not be injured in the process. The little we’ve been told of the restraint procedures used seem, on the surface, completely normal. Paulie’s clearly a big, strong man, he could obviously lay some hurt on someone if that were his intention. Binding him is fair; he gave up the right to be unbound when he trespassed. Just because he wasn’t fighting doesn’t mean he was complying, and the witnesses’ statements corroborate this. If you don’t turn around as requested when lawfully detained, the officers have a right to turn you around; and doing so puts them at risk by getting close to you, so they are obligated to perform the action with some intensity. As I already mentioned, I am not saying that they didn’t do anything wrong; assaulting a subdued subject would by no means be defensible. But don’t mistake “not throwing punches” for “not resisting.”

        You jumping to an accusation of racism when race was never mentioned nor implied in my comment, let alone your failure to acknowledge that PSafe officers put themselves in harm’s way when entering these unknown situations, pretty much invalidates any argument you offer. Show you’re thinking instead of seeking an excuse to be outraged, and then your opinion will be a contribution to the discussion. The post above is a pile of “fight the man, we’re the oppressed masses (here in our elite institution)” butthurt.

      • Anonymous

        you definitely have something of a point, but i’d be surprised if you weren’t white. that doesn’t make you a priori wrong, but it means that you should consider the limits of your perspective. most students of color i’ve talked to about this have had an experience of feeling discriminated against by P-Safe.

      • Alum ’98

        Well said, but it is my perspective is what allows me both to question the qualities of perception and to conceptualize a larger context.

        To the former: I have seen people perceive discrimination in situations that I had to admit, despite my emotional bias in favor of the so-called victim, did not warrant such claims. Some of these cases even dealt with students and PSafe. We all have filters, and in some cases triggers, that make us project emotions, perceive intents, and assume context that is not always accurate. While I’d be a fool to claim such inferences are never accurate, I’d be equally the fool to believe they were always accurate. Among the critical analysis tools I gained at Wes was to trust in the facts, and thus far there are frightfully few solid facts presented. I expect more to be revealed promptly, and should they not, I’ll happily join the protest to march on the president’s office.

        To the latter: The context I have is of having seen this all before, and feeling I’ll see it all again. There isn’t much difference between the current student body and the student body of my times. And in my time, we saw and felt many of the same things I see happening today, and it was only by the enlightenment of self-reflection and new experiences after college that I gained that perspective. I have been one of the students confronted by PSafe and reduced them in my mind to jackbooted thug caricatures. I am also fortunate enough to have stumbled into conversations with them in later years and learned at least some of them are genuinely concerned with protecting the student body as best they can, and can’t understand why they’re perceived as the enemy. And despite my history as one of those adversaries, I couldn’t conjure up any answer that didn’t seem laughable with hindsight.

      • Anonymous Bro

        And a lot of “students of color” I’ve talked to have assumed someone was racist because they didn’t say hi to them while walking around campus.

      • Alum12

        if psafe feel that they are about to enter into a dangerous situation, they call the police and wait for them to come. they don’t handle it themselves. that’s their normal protocol.

      • Alum ’98

        Hard to detect tone over the net: Do you realize quite how infantilizing and derisive that comes across? Any unknown situation is inherently dangerous. Every time a building alarm goes off, it could be a thief with a gun who’d rather take a shot at a campus cop than go to jail. Every time they have to break up a party they might face a few drunks swinging bats. PSafe doesn’t go crying to the cops every time there might be a bad man hiding in the shadows. They handle the situation unless they know it’s too severe; *that’s* their normal protocol. They aren’t equipped to handle some situations that the police are, it’s true, just as the police turn things over to some other agency if a situation is too big for them. That’s just knowing one’s limits and exercising discretion.

      • Wow

        Some background information that you may not have been aware of is that there has been a rash of muggings and harassment by African-American “townies” over the past month. These incidents have been followed by campus wide psafe reports that detail the perpetrators as “tall African-Americans” regardless of their heights (one was 5′ 6″ and still regarded as “tall”). In response, racially charged comments were posted on the University’s Anonymous Confession Board (ACB) that incited outrage and feelings of being the object of prejudice (understandably) from many members of the Wesleyan community. This incident with Paulie has come in the wake of these events and, I believe, should not be passed over as unrelated. Indeed, following the outbreak of attacks on students, letters were sent out assuring that psafe would be on increased alert and the police would be keeping a closer eye on campus as well. Those are the facts. Now we connect the dots. A black kid is found trespassing in Freeman and ends up with a concussion. Multiple psafe are there, and knowing that this kid is one of the fastest kids in the school, we can assume he wasn’t trying to run. You may say that he wasn’t complying, and perhaps that would give reason to “apprehend” him. But is it possible that we can discern the difference between justifiable non-compliance and non-compliance that is due is unwarranted? If you were smashed into a tile wall and then smacked around a bit, would your attempt to keep yourself from being completely at the mercy of the person that is hurting and to keep your arm from being broken be unjustifiable? Further, if this kid was white, would this ever have happened? Doubtful. If he was white that psafe wouldn’t have recognized him as a potentially one who’d been harassing and mugging students around campus.

        Basically, sure, when you look at the bare minimum facts, you might be able to conceive of a story that makes these actions by psafe seem justifiable and not reprehensible. But when you dig just a little bit deeper and use some of those “analytic skills” that you say Wesleyan imbued you with, you realize there is a little more to the story. Stay critical, my friends. This situation is entirely appalling.

      • Alum ’98

        Wait…you’re saying that some individuals were attacking people on campus, the victims (not PSafe or the police) provided descriptions, this guy matched the descriptions, and then when he seemed unable to provide a valid Wes ID #, it was unreasonable for PSafe to detain him, and to forcibly detain him when he offered any resistance? If I was on campus and I heard PSafe caught somebody doing Something Bad, somebody who matches the description of someone who was doing Something Very Fucking Bad to my fellow students, but then let him go before being absolutely sure it wasn’t him, I’d be even more furious than all of you are now.

        The rest of what you mention is tragic, but with respect to this situation, chaff. All you’re doing is supporting my previous point about filters and triggers. Maybe it was completely understandable that Lowther felt oppressed given all the shit flying on the ACB, but that is in no way a relevant fact. These are relevant facts: Exactly how did they try to detain him? Exactly what kind of reaction did he have? Exactly what procedure did they use next? Is this considered a justifiable procedure to deal with the above reaction? Was this procedure administered with an unreasonable amount of force, or in a careless or reckless manner? Was he later struck while already fully subdued? If so, how and why?

        The question of “justifiable non-compliance” is admirable but misplaced. The trespassing bit took away his initial right to object to restraint and detention. If PSafe performed actions that made him fear for his safety, that would then make resistance warranted, but the alleged resistance in question seems (by reports thus far) to have happened (if it happened) before there was any injury or threat made. Fear induced by ACB posts does NOT count. Being smacked against the wall, while definitely a bad thing, happened afterwards; attempting to justifying any resistance with said injury is a post hoc fallacy.

      • Wow

        So if someone fits the description of “African-American,” that’s a reason to smack them around a bit and give them a concussion?

        Unfortunately, you’re missing the point. Sure we can make up a story that would make the psafe officer’s actions seem reasonable. But, when we consider all of the information, such as witness testimonials and the heightened alert for African-Americans, and we critically interpret them in the context of the situation, we realize that psafe did something fucked up. You can “construe” situations in which the treatment would be validated until your blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean that they happened.

        That being said, my point of mentioning the climate of the campus was not to say that psafe should be weary of all African-Americans, as you seemed to have interpreted it. To the contrary, I meant to give you a fuller understanding of the situation. Of course, we cannot say for sure that recent incidents involving African-American “Middletown residents” affected psafe’s reaction to finding an African American trespassing in Freeman, but if we think critically, and add in the fact that they also sent out a notice about a heightened state of alert, we can conclude that a psafe officer *may have* taken it upon himself to send a message to the kids responsible through physical assault. Since this isn’t a court of law (and granted, this reasoning would not stand on its own in court! but with the other facts, it may!), I feel more comfortable drawing a likely conclusion such as this, rather than construing all of the unlikely situations in which the treatment is just.

        I don’t even know if it’s worth it to respond in detail to some of your other arguments. Sure, psafe’s detaining him is within the law, but once he is detained, why continue to beat him up as the witness testimonial describes? You look at everything through the eyes of psafe, but what about the guy being detained? If you feel like your arm will be broken, it is an immediate reaction to try to ease the pain and keep it safe. Is that non-compliance? Psafe may feel like they are in danger at all moments, but their job is to stay cool. If this is how they react in a fairly tame situation, what would they do when shit gets really crazy? Clearly, they need to be good at reading the situation and analyzing what measures they must take. Clearly, this incident showed one officer’s ineptitude in this area.

        Lastly (for now, I’m sure), thank you for pointing out the “tall” thing. I, and others, misread that. Probably because we weren’t extremely interested in comma placement and because this ambiguous phrasing is atypical wording for a commonly conveyed concept. (Why not say just 5′ 6″, or height 5′ 6″ if there was a need to specify?)

      • Alum ’98

        Side note: I’m reading the Public Safety Alerts looking for this disturbing verbiage you quote. Not seeing any references to “townies.” (“Non-students” is the phrase they seem to use, and this seems pretty non-judgmental.) Also not finding any references to “tall African-Americans.” (Closest I’m seeing is things like “5’5″ tall.” You know that is not a judgement that 5’5″ is tall, but just a way of indicating that the prior measurement is referring to height, right?) If those were actual quotes from the Alerts, but PSafe censored and sanitized them to put on the web, that’s pretty damning. But if those “quotes” were instead just more stuff you read on the ACB, we need to further the discussion about “digging” and “analytic skills” and being “critical.”

      • Wow

        You don’t have to mention race for it to be clear that it is a significant factor in your consideration of the issue. For you to say that his treatment is expected in the real world is really you saying that it is expected by any African American, or youth wearing the wrong clothes. You have no idea of his background. Perhaps this is treatment he would expect at home, but thought that coming to an elite “progressive” institution meant that he wouldn’t be racially profiled. Sure, he broke a rule, but did the punishment fit the crime? An eye for an eye is wrong, but what about an eye for a toenail?

        Maybe I’m operating on an ideal, maybe the world we live is just so fucked up that it necessitates this type of absurd over reaction to a naked kid in sauna. But that only further convinces me that you, like these psafe officers, are completely consumed by the prejudice that inundates us on a daily basis to the point of being unaware of its existence and convinced of its legitimacy. Therefore, I say to you that it is you that must show that you’re actually thinking instead of ceremoniously defending the system that so conveniently preserves your place atop the mountain where you can spew misinformed judgements to those struggling below.

        In summation: way of the world? Yes. Reason? You.

      • Alum ’98

        Actually, I said that treatment would be expected in the real world because when you break the law in the real world, you don’t actually retain the right to be a smart ass to the cops. It’s not the cops’ job to take an eye for an eye; it’s just their job to deliver you to those who would, and — here’s the critical bit — to make sure you don’t take *their* eye in the process. If you don’t flail out when they try to cuff you, they don’t have to pin you to the wall and forcibly take your arms.

        Make no mistake: The world we live in IS that fucked up. Even a naked kid can knock you down or take your weapon or gouge your eye out or crush your windpipe or shatter your skull in seconds if he’s that kind of person; and ANYBODY can be that kind of person. I don’t know what you’re assuming about me to believe this is prejudice, other than that I’m white. Yes, I am white. But that’s not the reason I’m saying all this; the reason is that *I* have been the one slammed face down into the asphalt by police, had my hands cuffed behind my back, and had a knee shoved in my spine and a shotgun shoved in my face. I didn’t get to cry racism. I didn’t get to take the easy way out by assuming the officers already hated me. I had to analyze them as people and eventually come to realize that every officer has to walk onto the street every day knowing there are plenty of people who would happily kill them given the chance, and they will never know who those people are until their lives are in imminent jeopardy, so they have to take every precaution necessary to avoid unnecessarily dangerous situations. You’d think life would be easier for a PSafe officer, because students usually have way more to lose than actual criminals, but they have to deal with real criminals too, and until they know for certain which they’re dealing with, it makes sense that they assume the most dangerous situation, in order to protect themselves, their fellow officers, the students, and the campus. And frankly, when bile like this is flowing at them from the student body, I can understand if they didn’t feel all that safe with students, either.

        Don’t accuse me of defending the system just because I’m presenting possible realities that oppose what seems to be your preset judgement; I’ve said over and over that I want more evidence one way or the other. But as long as I can easily construe reasonable scenarios where a given party could be innocent, I’m unwilling to condemn that party. You’ve apparently already settled on an opinion without the benefit of sufficient facts; that’s the *definition* of prejudice.

      • Adam

        Maybe you don’t believe Paulie’s account, but if you do, then you’re a fool if you think hitting a restrained man three times in the temple is just an example of PSafe taking “every precaution necessary to avoid unnecessarily dangerous situations.”

    • Justice

      Paulie isn’t a “big” guy…he is 5’11” or maybe 6′ and maybe 165lbs. Is that a “big” guy to you? And where does he admit to being intoxicated? At what point do you feel it was okay for Psafe to give him a concussion?

      • Alum ’98

        Uh, YES, that IS big! Above average height for a male in the US, and he’s an athlete to boot so that’s a lean and strong 165. Plenty big enough to be a threat to anyone. And size isn’t a prerequisite for being physically dangerous, it’s just an added factor. Even though concealed weapons weren’t a factor {ahem}, nobody can know if some random suspect (not just Paulie, but anyone) has martial arts training or is high on PCP or simply has an utter disregard for his own safety. I don’t for a minute think that Paulie was actually a danger, given the testimonies here, but PSafe didn’t have the whole campus’ opinion, they just had a tall, muscular dude whose mind they couldn’t read.

        I didn’t say he was drunk, but his response to police allegations that he was drunk was that he “was under the legal limit.” Have you ever heard of, or can you realistically imagine, someone defending their sobriety with this argument if the actual truth was “I haven’t had anything at all to drink”? Be real; that’s an admission of having had something to drink. So it is not farfetched to believe he could have showed some signs of inebriation. My only point was that that possibility increases the potential for dangerous behavior, and that PSafe had to take that into account.

        As I’ve said before, none of this means violence would be justified. But it means it’s not too hard to construct a scenario where his head injury is not abuse or even negligent. Say he’s *not* showing signs of inebriation beyond being resistant to turning around and offering his hands, but it turns out his reactions are a bit slower than expected when they have to then forcibly turn him around; they push his chest toward the wall, he’s lolling his head to much, and pop. I don’t know if that’s how it really happened. But neither do you. That’s why we both want more evidence. Especially about the alleged face-smacking once he was already down; I can’t think of a single scenario where that wouldn’t be blatant abuse.

      • Justice

        Have you seen him in person? He’s is in no way a BIG guy. Maybe 5’11” and 165 pounds is big to a woman who is 4’11” and 100 pounds, but he is certainly not a BIG guy. As you say, a lean 165 pounds…lean is the operative word here. So, regardless of whether or not he is physically strong or an athlete, if Psafe did not know these things, what was so threatening about a naked young man who is not at all “BIG” in stature (who could not have a concealed weapon)?

        Why are you obsessing over his answer to the question of sobriety? Yes, that is a defense and if he were a driver it would matter, but he wasn’t driving and no one did a sobriety or drug test. If you know Paulie, you would know how absurd this is.

        Say what you’d like to say, but the testimonies from the others in the building match Paulie’s account of what happened. Paulie’s personality is so far from this trumped up story, and Wes needs to take responsibility for this. The fact that Psafe thought they had him alone seems to be a plausible reason why they beat him and then lied in their reports.

  • anon


  • Jack Lee Dean

    My name is Jack Lee Dean. I was a student at Wesleyan in 1974, under a different name. On a late night walk I saw a vehicle approach me from behind, park, and two men get out from it and start hurrying towards me. I was initially afraid they were going to attack me, but when I checked their hands for weapons and didn’t see any, I decided to stop where I was and see what they wanted. It turned out that they were Wesleyan security guards, and they wanted me to produce my Wesleyan photo I.D., which I did without protest. They kept asking my name and where I lived, for what reason there was this repetition in their questioning I didn’t know, but eventually they seemed satisfied that I was a Wesleyan student, and went back to their vehicle and drove off. I went to a dean later and told him about this, and he said what they’d done was illegal, because they acted as official Wesleyan security guards on a public street, not on campus. He said illegal surveillance by security was a big problem at the school and they didn’t know what they could do about it. I said, “What if I sued the school?” He said I couldn’t do that, becasue of an exclusion of liability in Wesleyan’s contract with security. If I wanted to sue anyone it would have to be them. The administration did nothing on my behalf, nor on the behalf of anyone else complaining about illegal surveillance by Wesleyan security. When I told my resident advisor about this, who was no slouch when it came to physical strength, indeed, he was captain of the crew team, he said if he’d seen a vehicle pull up and two men run out at him he would have run away.
    Now what happened with me that year was nothing compared with what happened to Mr.Lowther, and it’s good to see the administration taking his treatment seriously, but a warped police mentality is similar. There are security guards who feel they’re above the law, and further, anyone who questions this is subject to abuse. I often ask myself what would have happened to me if I’d run away from those two security guards? The way the captain of the crew team said he would have.
    I’m curious to know what kind of legal relationship exists between security and the University now. A man given a concussion by Public Safety officers! And then charged with criminal trespass!

  • Chin ’10

    I’ve known Paulie since we were in HS and this doesn’t cross me as the type of thing he would just make up. I hope a thorough investigation is underway because too many things have been spilling out recently, Wes. This university has got to do a better job of protecting its students. I’m tired of cringing whenever I see an article about my alma mater. Smh.

    • Alum

      The fact that this post was under the name “Jack Lee Dean” a second ago makes both it and “Jack’s” post rather suspect.

      • pyrotechnics

        Sometimes Disqus messes up like that and takes a few seconds to register that it’s a new poster. I’ve had a post pop up with my name on it because I was the previous poster, but then the name changed a few seconds later. Your screenshot doesn’t mean much. Not the fault of Chin or Jack.

  • Alum12

    This is illegal! press charges!

    • Justice

      I agree. There is no justification for the aggression and brutality.

  • Justin W ’12

    I respected PSafe a great deal during my time on campus, as I believed
    they did a good job of walking the line between policing/protecting and
    infringing on student rights. They weren’t perfect, no, but nor was
    their job easy. Here, though, I can’t believe what I am reading.

    know Paulie to be remarkably calm, rational, and respectful to a degree
    that he stands out among others. The discrepancy between the two
    versions of the story raises eyebrows, but where Paulie’s iteration of
    events seems entirely within his character, Public Safety’s version
    describes the actions of a different person. Forgive my boldness, but a
    psafe officer embellished the truth here to the degree that it borders
    on dishonesty to try and excuse his own career-damning mistake.

  • D ’15

    I know Paulie and he is a great guy, but none of this would have happened if he had remained calm and complied with the officers. PSafe won’t handcuff you and bring you to your knees if you don’t raise your voice or threaten them. Of course, if it turns out that PSafe officers hit him, none of that is really relevant and the officers and the University should be held accountable. As for discerning the truth, I imagine the girl hiding in the sauna would have the most trustworthy account.

  • Appaled Student

    Officer Crescimanno was the Public Safety officer who hit Paulie three times while he was being restrained, naked, on the ground. FYI

    • Justice

      Thanks for the information. Do you have his first name?

      • Student’12

        Stephen Crescimanno

  • Jack Lee Dean

    Jack Lee Dean for W98[?]
    I noticed in the explanation of what happened, that the Public Safety officers were hard on Mr Lawther, and as w98 put it must have felt threatened, when they thought he was an off campus, non-student. But suddenly felt less threatened when they realized he in fact was a student, and went easier on him. This, to me, speaks volumes.

    • Justice

      I’m glad someone else noticed this as well. I think it is very telling. I certainly hope those investigating really look into this fact.

  • Obi ’98

    I am pretty disgusted by what I’ve just read and sincerely hope that the PSafe officers involved in this incident are disciplined for their obviously inappropriate and excessive actions.

  • Anonymous

    You guys are pretty gullible. You think he suffered such a serious concussion because one guy pushed a 6 foot track star’s head into the wall? He sprinted and fell on his head – his feet were moist and he was drunk. You don’t suffer concussions that easily.

    And all of you rushing to the conclusion that it’s racism… Get over it already. Just because someone acts like an asshole doesn’t mean it’s got anything to do with prejudice… and that’s assuming Paul’s version of the story – the one given to save his ass from expulsion (interestingly he’s not pressing charges?) – is true.

    But hey. Welcome to PC World.

    • anon

      he is pressing charges