Police detain 2 at Parizade

Claudia Steer, Trinity ’04, and sophomore Anteneh Addisu were detained at Café Parizade Thursday night after allegedly assaulting Durham Police Department officers. The incidents come a week after a group of Duke students reported excessive and discriminatory treatment by DPD officers at another Parizade party.

Off-duty, uniformed DPD officers had been privately contracted by the club for security purposes Thursday night. At least 500 people observed the event and at least 10 DPD and Duke University Police Department officers were involved in the arrests, police on the scene said. Witnesses suggested that Thursday’s events were racially motivated, noting that both detainees are black.

Steer was arrested and taken to Durham County Jail and later released. Addisu was questioned by officers and detained in a police vehicle, and he was also later released. Steer was charged with assaulting an officer. No formal charges were filed against Addisu.

Senior Matthew Schemmel, a Duke student hired by Parizade as the main entrance bouncer, said Steer tried to enter the club at approximately 12:30 a.m. but was unable to provide a valid form of identification with both a picture and date of birth. “She wanted to drink,” he said.

Seniors Charelle Sanford and Kandi Chitman, two of Steer’s friends at the club, said Steer is 21 years old, but she only had a temporary New York driver’s license that did not include picture identification. The interim license was issued while Steer’s permanent license was being processed.

Sanford and Chitman said the group appealed to the club’s manager, who told them to enter Parizade through its back entrance, where another bouncer was manning the door, in order to “de-escalate the situation.”

Approximately 45 minutes later, Schemmel said he spotted Steer inside the club and told her to leave the premises. A police officer on the scene, who declined to give his name, said Steer refused to leave the club and Schemmel subsequently requested police assistance.

“She became very belligerent and verbally abusive,” the officer said. “As officers guided her through the crowd, she turned around and pushed the officer, thereby assaulting two police officers as they were trying to restrain her.”

Steer’s friends said the officers who were escorting her out of the club were pushing and grabbing Steer from behind. “She turned to the cop and said, ‘Please, do not push me,’ and then he pushed her up against a chair and said to her, ‘Do you want to go to jail?”’ Chitman said.

In the commotion, Chitman said, the officer pinned Steer to the floor face-down and handcuffed her hands behind her back.

“He pushed her down and her top fell off and left her breast exposed to everybody,” Sanford said. “We were all screaming at him to get a female officer. There were so many males outside who were screaming, ‘Let her go.’”

Among the men outside the club was Addisu, who was recording the event on his digital camera. Officers told him to turn the camera off. “Because I held on to my own camera, they proceeded to throw me against a police car and handcuff me,” Addisu said.

Sanford said the way Parizade officials and DPD officers reacted to Steer was inappropriate. “My dad was a cop and, at least before tonight, I didn’t believe in police brutality,” she said.

A man identified by DPD officers and other witnesses as the club’s manager said he was not involved with Thursday night’s party and only happened to be on the premises because of unrelated business. He declined further comment.


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