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Norwich man released under house arrest ahead of football game at NFA

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Eighteen-year-old Joseph Desir of Norwich, who was arrested Tuesday as police took extra precautions to prevent violence at the annual New London-Norwich Free Academy Thanksgiving football game, was released from custody Wednesday as fans were assembling at NFA for the 1:30 p.m. game.

Desir's family posted a $30,000 bond following his arraignment in New London Superior Court on charges of second-degree breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass. He was fitted with a GPS monitoring bracelet and released under house arrest. Now free on a total of $130,000 bonds, he is due back in court on Dec.16, when prosecutor Stephen M. Carney has notified the court he will argue for a bond increase.

Police say Desir, of 18 E. Pratte St., has been involved in violent clashes between Norwich and New London groups that occurred on New Year's Day at Foxwoods and at a Halloween Party in Norwich, where he is accused of shooting a gun into a roomful of people and grazing a man in the head. Detectives have identified some of the participants as members of a Norwich street gang known as "1804."

As the annual Thanksgiving week football game approached, police said they were changing the kickoff time from night-time to Wednesday afternoon and beefing up security under the threat of violence between street gangs from Norwich and New London.

A New Year's Day melee at the Foxwoods Resort Casino involved young people from the two cities and resulted in a stabbing that left one man in critical condition. Due to his alleged participation in the fight, Desir was subsequently ejected and banned from the casino, which is common practice, according to police.

Tuesday's arrest stemmed from an incident that occurred at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Oct. 27. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police allege in an arrest warrant that Desir, who was banned from the casino, returned to the casino and was involved in another altercation involving two large groups of people.

Desir had been incarcerated until Friday in connection with the Halloween party incident. His family posted a $100,000 bond on Friday, the day after New London Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein denied a motion for a bond reduction. He was released on house arrest and was wearing a GPS monitor when he was picked up by Norwich police on the strength of the Mashantucket warrant.

The game took place Wednesday without incident.

k.florin@theday.com

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