NEW BRITAIN – Four Central Connecticut State University football players were suspended Tuesday from playing this Saturday’s game after school officials reviewed their involvement in an off-campus party that resulted in their arrest.
Wide receivers Chika Chukwu, 20, of Glastonbury, and Jose Garcia, 21 of New London; linebackers Randall Laguerre, 21, of 64 Roxbury St., New Britain, and Kenneth Keen, 21, also of 64 Roxbury St.; and Luke Ocasio, 22, of Wethersfield, who is not on the team, were charged with second-degree breach of peace and permitting a minor to possess alcohol. Keen and Laguerre are two of the Blue Devils’ leading tacklers and Garcia is one of the team’s top receivers. All five live at 64 Roxbury Road where a large party was broken up by police Saturday night.
School officials confirmed Tuesday that Chukwu, Garcia, Laguerre and Keen are suspended from playing Saturday’s football game at Youngstown State University in Ohio. The four will also have to complete 10 hours of community service and attend a university sponsored alcohol awareness program. The men met with school officials Tuesday morning.
“CCSU takes its commitment to being a good neighbor seriously,” said university spokesman Mark McLaughlin. “We also believe it is our responsibility to educate our students about being good citizens, whether they are on or off campus.”
Officers arrived at 64 Roxbury St. at 11 p.m. Saturday to find between 100 and 200 students drinking, yelling and playing drinking games after several neighbors called 911 to report a loud party going on at the address. Neighbors reported they could hear the students yelling “chug, chug, chug.”
Officers found a table used to play beer pong - a drinking game that involves ping-pong balls and plastic cups - and dozens of people who appeared to be 17 to 19 years old drinking in the basement, reports said.
The men declined to comment Tuesday morning but acknowledged there were at least 75 people in the house which is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood near CCSU.
The past three years have been “horrible,” said one neighborhood who spoke Tuesday under the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the students. “They had a bouncer on the street who was directing kids where to go,” she said of Saturday’s party. “One of them kept coming out to tell them they had to be quiet or the police would be called.”
Police received multiple calls about the party, Capt. Thomas Steck said. The neighbors could hear kids yelling “chug, chug, chug,” police said. The woman stopped counting at about 75 kids as officers were attempting to break up the party, she said. She has also heard students yelling at police and threatening to come back “as a mob.”
There are times when as many as 200 kids are walking down the street in the early morning hours and her house has been “egged” and vandalized, she said.
The New Britain Police Department spends thousands of dollars a year to maintain control in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus to protect residents from students urinating on lawns, holding large parties and walking in large loud groups in the overnight hours. Each year as students return to campus, the weekend parties ramp up again, creating a nuisance for people who have lived in the Belvidere section of the city for decades. The Herald has submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking all documents related to enforcement of off-campus parties since Aug. 15.
“We are in constant communication with residents like we are with all residents in the city,” Police Chief James Wardwell said Monday. “They deserve the enjoyment of their homes like any other resident.”
Since Aug. 24, Wardwell has placed up to five extra officers on duty on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to deal with the off-campus parties. CCSU police, who have a memorandum of understanding with the city that allows them to also issue underage drinking and parking tickets were not involved in breaking up Saturday’s party.
Wardwell “has been fabulous,” the woman said. “The whole New Britain Police Department has been fabulous.” But she admitted she is frustrated with school officials and how they handle student behavior off campus. “These kids have no concept of consequences,” she said. “New Britain police have everything they can but we need the university to expel these kids.”
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 and Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.