New Haven Police release body cam video from botched police raid
After a botched police raid, New Haven Police is releasing the body camera video of the moment they took the wrong person into handcuffs. There's now an internal affairs investigation into the handling of the case.
It all happened just before 6 a.m. on April 6, when police raided an apartment building at 590 East Street for a child pornography case. They went into the right building, but broke down the wrong door, at first.
"There's no excuse that we hit the wrong door...but it is very confusing," said Chief Karl Jacobson with the New Haven Police Department.
Police were executing a search warrant for an apartment on the second floor, where their suspect, Timothy Yergeau, lived. However, they ended up hitting a different apartment on the third floor. They woke Stacey Wezenter and her children, putting her in handcuffs.
Minutes later, police realized they were in the wrong apartment, and took her out of handcuffs. In the body camera video, Wezenter can be heard telling police officers about the apartments, and how the layout is confusing to many.
She posted on Facebook a short time later, explaining how she was traumatized and how the whole thing felt like it was "out of a movie".
FOX61 reached out to Wezenter for comment, but she said she was advised by her lawyer to not make any comments without them being present.
Police have since reached out to her to offer her counseling and to help fix the door that was broken into during the raid.
"Understandably, it can be pretty traumatic when police is all of a sudden is in your apartment," said Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven. "We're very, very sorry for the fact that the police department entered her home and chose the wrong door."
However, during a press conference on Monday, Elicker and the police chief emphasized the reason they were at the East Street apartment in the first place, was for a serious case.
"Any criminal activity involving the safety of our children, we take very seriously," Elicker said.
Shortly after hitting the wrong door, police went downstairs to execute their search warrant. Police say they got everything they needed for the investigation.
The search warrant states that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children got five tips for the sale and production of child pornography at 590 East Street, Unit 2. That address was connected to an IP address that the warrant said was used by Yergeau. Since it was only a search warrant, Yergeau was left alone in his apartment. Days later, police said he committed suicide.
Yergeau was well-known in his community, previously working for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. A spokesperson for the company said, "Tim Yergeau joined PPSNE in 2018 as Brand and Communications Manager; he was serving as Director of Strategic Communications when he left PPSNE in July 2022. We have no other comment at this time."
After that position, Yergeau moved on as Director of Marketing and Communications at Long Wharf Theatre. FOX61 reached out to the Theatre for comment, but did not hear back.
Police are now looking into whether the accidental raid had any impact to Yergeau's suicide.
"That will be addressed in the internal affairs investigation, but as far as I see, they did exactly what they were supposed to do," Jacobson said.
Jacobson also mentioned there are other people who could be involved in the child pornography case, and there could be arrests in the future.
In the meantime, the police department is conducting an internal affairs investigation into the handling of the raid.
"We're not happy that we hit the wrong door. But, in watching the video, the officers and detectives did a great job talking to her and making it right," Jacobson said.