Police Never Received ECSU Student’s Call for Help: Cops

When a student at Eastern Connecticut State University was assaulted and robbed over the weekend, he called 911. But police say the call for help never reached them.

According to Willimantic police, a group of half a dozen people attacked the student around 1 a.m. Sunday and took his wallet while he was walking back to campus.

"One came from the side and immediately hit me in the side of the eye until I dropped to the ground," explained the victim, who asked not to be identified by name. "And they just started beating me and one kid kept yelling, 'All right, it's over, just take his wallet.'"

The student said he ran into the woods and called 911. According to police, however, that call never made it from the Willimantic Switchboard Association, which handles emergency dispatch, to the police department.

Willimantic police emphasized that the two are separate entities.

"Somewhere in between that 911 call, there was a disconnect," explained Willimantic police spokesman Cpl. Stan Parizo. "We're going to look at all facets of this: the 911 call itself to the dispatch center, the conversation between the victim and the dispatcher and the reason why the police department wasn't dispatched."

Willimantic police are investigating both the assault and the communication breakdown. Police said the Willimantic Switchboard Association is also investigating.

"He asked me to go out to where I was exactly on Ash Street. He told me if he didn't know exactly where I was then he could not assist me," the student said, of the dispatcher who answered the phone. "So I just told him, 'That's fine, I'll just take care of it on my own.'"

The student has not filed a formal complaint over the incident and refused medical attention at the scene, according to police.

Parizo said the victim refused to allow police to photograph his injuries and "did not wish to give a statement" at the time of the incident.

Nonetheless, the student said he feels "let down by the [authorities] completely because they were of no help" and wants his attackers to face the consequences.

"This is a serious crime," Parizo said. "We are doing everything we can to find the assailant or assailants that assaulted this young men and bring them to justice."

The Willimantic Switchboard Association could not immediately be reached for comment.

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