NEW BRITAIN - Five members of the Central Connecticut State University football team were arrested over the weekend after police had to break up a large off-campus party on Roxbury Street.
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.
“We recognize that CCSU and the student population are a valued part of our community,” Police Chief James Wardwell said. “But it is about time that these students recognize that.”
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, whose position is not known, 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.
As officers were breaking up the party and determining who lived at the address, Laguerre and Keen were found behind closed doors in two separate rooms. Both admitted to living in the building but denied knowing anything about the party, even though neighbors could hear the racket, police said.
An intoxicated 20-year-old girl was found in Keen’s bedroom, police said. Officers had been to the same address on Sept. 2 and issued tickets to Keen and two others, also for a loud party.
The Blue Devils lost to Fordham University earlier Saturday. A young man who was also on the team at first told officers he lived at 64 Roxbury St., then denied living there after learning he was about to be arrested. According to police, several members of the football team showed up and got “confrontational” and disrespectful with officers as they tried to determine the man’s role in the party. He was released after police confirmed he did not live at the address.
CCSU police were not involved in the arrests. CCSU Police Chief Gregory Sneed did not return phone calls from The Herald, but CCSU officials confirmed that their police were not involved in the arrests or at the scene of the party.
Assistant Athletic Director for Communications and Media Services Thomas Pincince referred all comment about the football team to university officials.
“CCSU officials are reviewing details of what happened during an off-campus party on Saturday night,” said Mark McLaughlin, a spokesman for the school. “We take the matter very seriously and we will work to ensure that our campus community understands why it is important to be a good neighbor.”
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.
“We are in constant communication with residents like we are with all residents in the city,” Wardwell said. “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.
“We issued a lot of warnings, talked to many students and broke up many parties,” Wardwell said. “We bend over backwards to say if you continue, there will be arrests.”
Chukwu, Keen and Garcia were arraigned Monday in New Britain Superior Court. Judge Joan Alexander told them that, as a condition of their release, they must not be arrested again. Each was appointed a public defender and told he would have to appear in court again on Oct. 18.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.