Three Lafayette seniors who were celebrating the final 100 days of their college careers claim they were harassed and physically abused by a private security company hired by the school to maintain safety at the 100 Nights’ dance.
None of the students said they were seriously hurt, and there were no hospitalizations as a result of the incident.
Stefano Valle ‘14 was restrained towards the end of the dance and taken to the ground by Bear Security when they found him to be unruly.
Onlookers said Valle was agitated and screaming while being tackled to the ground by the Bear Security officers.
Amos Han ‘14, one of the witnesses, attempted to videotape the incident between Valle and Bear Security, but said a Bear Security officer threatened to break his phone before throwing it to the ground.
“Catch you taking pictures again, I’ll smash your phone,” a voice said in a video Han posted of the incident on Facebook. Han identified the voice as one of the guards.
Han also said a girl, who requested to remain unnamed and declined to comment, was pushed down by Bear Security when they were trying to move everyone away from the scene.
Fredy Flores ‘14, a friend of Valle’s, also said he was jostled by Bear Security officers. Flores said that when he asked a Bear Security officer why his friend was being tackled by Bear Security, the officer cursed at him and pushed him away.
Stefano Valle sent pictures to The Lafayette showing dark bruises on his arm, ear, and elbow. He claimed they were caused by the Bear Security officers when he was being escorted outside of Marquis Hall and taken down.
Valle said he was flirting with a female employee in Marquis Hall and maintained that there was “…nothing condescending, nothing disrespectful, nothing aggressive, no curse words, [and] nothing derogatory or sexual in anyway” in his actions towards her. When he was talking to her, he was approached by two officers from Bear Security.
“They basically, right off the bat, without asking [the female caterer] what happened, without asking me what was going on…got within two inches of my face,” Valle said. “These guys were towering over me, basically trying to intimidate me.”
Attempts to contact the female employee at Marquis were unsuccessful.
Valle said he complied with the Bear Security officers when they asked him to leave the employee alone; however, when leaving he said he may have brushed up against them.
“They were looking for something, and I guess I was that outlet,” Valle said.
He said when he tried to leave he was grabbed by the two Bear Security officers and forced into the lobby of Marquis. Once he was escorted to the lobby, he said they became even more physically aggressive.
“Two guys, over 200 pounds, smashed me to the ground,” he said. “They pinned me with a knee on my arm and the other one with a knee on my ear.”
Both Han and Flores claim that Bear Security was unnecessarily aggressive with Valle and physically and verbally aggressive with those watching the incident as they tried to clear the scene.
Valle and Han both said Public Safety officers arrived while Valle was on the ground. Valle said he was then handcuffed by Public Safety, brought downstairs in Marquis, and was handcuffed to a pole in a holding cell.
Associate Director of Public Safety and Supervisor of Criminal Investigations Jim Meyer refused to comment on the ongoing investigation. Brian McMenamin, the President of Bear Security, also refused to comment while the investigation is still in motion.
“I think that these types of law enforcement authorities are meant to make us feel safe and that’s their mandate and when you feel scared at their presence…I think that’s really sad and really upsetting,” Valle said.