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Charges filed in Library bust

Claire Heininger | Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office filed charges Friday against the three Notre Dame students who were arrested early Friday morning during a raid of The Library Irish Pub.All 21 patrons who were ticketed during the raid – including the three arrested and transported to St. Joseph County Jail – were Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s students, and 31 citations were issued, according to information provided by the Indiana State Excise Police. The raid of the establishment also resulted in the use of a Taser to subdue two of the arrested individuals, said Lt. Marc Mersich of the South Bend Police Department. Kathy Wanaecke, administrative coordinator for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, said senior Michael Attea, who was arrested for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public intoxication, was formally charged with resisting arrest. She added that sophomore David George was charged with public intoxication and minor in consumption. George’s original booking charges also included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but the prosecutor’s office decided not to file those charges, Wanaecke said.Police compile a “preliminary assessment” of the situation before prosecutors can review all information and decide “exactly what was done and what charges are warranted,” Wanaecke said.Mersich characterized the prosecutor’s job as a “Monday morning quarterback” that carefully processes and evaluates decisions police initially make in “15-30 seconds.”Sophomore lacrosse player Brian Hubschmann, whose booking charges were unchanged, was charged with public intoxication, false informing and minor in consumption, said Wanaecke. Attea and George declined to comment. After repeated attempts to contact Hubschmann, his roommate relayed a message from him that he declined to comment. Lt. Greg Deitchley, spokesman for the District 1 excise office, said Indiana State Excise Police arrested Hubschmann and South Bend Police arrested Attea and George. All three were released Friday after posting bail, confirmed Deputy F. Datema at the St. Joseph County Jail.Mersich, who witnessed Attea’s arrest, claimed Attea used profanities while refusing to obey officers’ commands to remain inside the bar’s doors. Mersich added that since Attea is not underage, he was only required to “whip his ID out,” but said Attea instead “physically pushed past policemen” on his way outside.”As soon as he touched a policeman in a rude, angry manner, it’s battery,” Mersich said, explaining that on the department’s “force continuum,” officers are required to exert enough force to “one-up” the person who confronts them. South Bend police officers responded by placing Attea on the ground outside the bar and informing him he was under arrest, at which point he refused to put one of his hands behind his back, Mersich said.”These things happen so fast,” he said. “We always try to err on the side of safety.” The officers determined the safest step for Attea and for themselves was for Captain Andrews to use a “drive-stun” – a 1.5-second Taser shot packing a level of electric shock that “doesn’t permanently injure anybody” – to Attea’s back and shoulder area, Mersich said.”It is the most effective way that causes minimal risk to party and officers,” he said.Mersich cited the same reasoning in his own decision to use a Taser on George, who Mersich said was hiding behind the refrigerator in the bar’s kitchen and refused to come out.He said there were knives, chemicals and broomsticks within George’s reach that posed a threat to both men’s safety in the small area.Using a drive-stun on George “eliminated any possibility of him getting hurt, me getting hurt, escalating the whole ordeal,” Mersich said. “[Police] went to [Tasers] as another tool in our arsenal where we don’t have to go hands-on as much with people.”George was then handcuffed and escorted out of the bar, Mersich said.A Taser was not used in Hubschmann’s arrest, Deitchley said. He added that Tasers are not issued to the Indiana State Excise Police.Mersich said he could not comment on the possible additional use of Tasers once the students were in the prisoner transport van or in jail.Bar owner Chuck Hammons, who was present during part of the raid, said he did not witness the use of Tasers and that he had not spoken with his employees about witnessing specific incidents. He added he had not yet viewed his videotape evidence – which covers a portion of the sidewalk in front of the pub in addition to a vestibule where patrons wait to show I.D. – to watch the raid unfold. Resisting arrest is classified as a class A misdemeanor, carrying a possible punishment of up to one year in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine. Public intoxication and false informing are both class B misdemeanors, each carrying a possible punishment of zero to 180 days in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. Minor in consumption is a class C misdemeanor, with a possible punishment of zero to 60 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine. Minor in a tavern, the citation issued to 20 students, is also a class C misdemeanor.However, most students in past bar busts received pretrial diversion for minor in a tavern citations by paying fines and completing community service hours.Deitchley said he will forward the names of all cited patrons to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission this week. Notre Dame Security/Police – which was not involved in the raid – also expects to receive a list of Notre Dame students, NDSP director Rex Rakow said Friday. He added that NDSP will then forward the names to the Office of Residence Life, which after past raids has assessed additional fines and community service hours to students. The Saint Mary’s student handbook, however, prevents the College from levying further punishments against students cited off-campus.