Conn College student apologizes for post about New London police

New London — The Connecticut College student who alleged in October that New London police beat him up for trying to help a victim of domestic violence has apologized for publishing his version of events in a Facebook post that went viral.

Lee Messier, 22, of Narragansett, R.I., said in a Thursday Facebook post that he wrote the lengthy Oct. 17 post because “I needed my extended family and friends to understand what I was feeling in that moment.”

Early on the morning of Oct. 16, campus safety and city police officers responded to the Jane Addams House dormitory for the report of a woman screaming for help.

Police said they first encountered Alicia Gorin, 22, of Centerville, Mass., and Éamon O’Leary, 20, of Boxford, Mass. The latter, they said, had a head laceration prior to their arrival. Police said both had been “active participants” in a domestic violence incident and both were hostile and aggressive toward officers.

Police then encountered Messier, who they said intervened in the incident between Gorin and O’Leary before officers arrived, interfered with them upon their arrival and then resisted arrest.

According to Messier's October post, several New London and campus officers “came crashing” into the hall that night and acted “combatively” toward Gorin, him and a friend he was with.

He said he tried to get officers’ attention multiple times to tell them Gorin was a victim of, not a participant in, domestic violence. He alleged that a New London officer “bearhugged” Gorin before handcuffing her. He also alleged New London officers twisted his arm and kicked him when he didn't follow their order to stay in the dorm room where he was.

Gorin was charged with disorderly conduct, third-degree assault and interfering with police in connection with the domestic dispute. O'Leary also was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with police. Both of their cases are pending in New London Superior Court.

A New London Police Department internal review found in December that New London officers didn’t violate any department rules regarding use of force or any state law during the incident.

Acting Chief Peter Reichard said at the time that police interviewed 18 people during their investigation and developed information that “proved a lot of information from (Messier’s) post was not accurate.”

Messier’s initial post appears to have been deleted.

Messier said in his Thursday post that he didn’t anticipate the amount of media attention his post would garner or the amount of calls and messages he would receive. He said his schoolwork and his commitment to basketball suffered as a result.

Messier said he believes his “impulsive decision” to post his story on Facebook damaged the police department’s reputation and caused its officers stress, but he did not recant anything he wrote in his original post.

“I have already apologized to the police officers involved and I again apologize on this forum,” Messier wrote. “My intention was only to share my recollection of the events that transpired that night and not to damage the reputation of the New London Police Department or its officers.”

The Day has reached out to Reichard for comment about Messier’s apology. Messier also was not available for comment.

Messier is facing one count of interfering with an officer stemming from the incident. He has pleaded not guilty to that charge and is next due in New London Superior Court on April 21.

l.boyle@theday.com

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