Yale football player sues New Haven police over 2010 stun gun incident

New Haven - A Yale University football player is suing New Haven police, saying he was seriously injured when they used a Taser on him during a nightclub raid in 2010.

Jordan Jefferson filed suit in New Haven Superior Court against the city, former police Chief Frank Limon, and officers who participated in the raid at Alchemy/Elevate nightclub. He said he suffered post concussive syndrome, headaches, blurred vision and other injuries.

Jefferson is listed on the Yale football team website as a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior tight end.

Police assaulted Jefferson by repeatedly using a Taser, hitting him with fists and a baton/club and kicking him, despite the fact he was not resisting arrest, according to the lawsuit.

The suit, which seeks more than $15,000 in damages, alleges civil rights violations, failure to provide adequate training, supervision and discipline of police officers and assault.

"If police had used common sense, judgment and exercised a reasonable approach, my client would not have been injured," Jefferson's attorney William Dow III said.

Charges against Jefferson, including assaulting police, were dismissed, according to the lawsuit.

An attorney for the city said he is aware of the lawsuit and will respond at the appropriate time.

Police were conducting liquor and safety checks at several downtown clubs at the time. The raid sparked 37 complaints of verbal abuse, unlawful detention and excessive force involving the arrest of a club patron. The internal investigation concluded the patron was resisting arrest and officers did not use excessive force.

The internal affairs probe of the raid found no need to discipline officers. But city officials said at the time that the handling of the raid raised significant issues, including inadequate planning and supervision, inadequate control of the space, lack of a policy regarding cellphone use during an inspection and lack of training on when it is appropriate for officers to escalate verbal commands, including profanity.

Limon said an assistant chief, who was supervising the operation and has since retired, lost control of the inspection. "It was poor planning, poor decision making and poor leadership," he said last year. "I take full responsibility and the department has learned some valuable lessons."

He said the department implemented uniform inspection procedures, stepped up training and created a policy permitting citizens to video record police activity as long as the recording does not interfere with ongoing police activity or jeopardize safety.

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