The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 77.0°F | Partly Cloudy

Campus Police arrest band manager

The MIT Campus Police arrested and charged the manager of the local band Down Avenue with the assault and battery of an officer during a party at 500 Memorial Drive last Friday. The dormitory and the Alpha Phi sorority co-sponsored the party.

The arrest came in the middle of the band's encore song. Officer Clarence Henniger tried to end the party shortly after the scheduled 1 am closing time, according to Campus Police Chief James Olivieri. Henniger acted according to Office of the Dean for Student Affairs regulations for on-campus parties, Olivieri added.

At that time, the band requested permission to continue playing, but Henniger refused. Susan Siedel, the band's manager, allegedly became hostile, swore at him and kicked him in the groin, Olivieri said.

"The 1 am closing time should be strictly adhered to," said Olivieri. Henniger "was considerate and had allowed them to play another set. The attitude of the young lady was hostile. We won't stand for that."

"She adamantly denies that she kicked him in the groin," stated Jim Merberg, Siedel's attorney.

"I am very upset about this," said Siedel. She declined further comment on the advice of her attorney.

Representatives of 500 Memorial Drive and Alpha Phi declined to comment on the incident.

Down Avenue stopped playing around 1 am, but the audience kept clapping until the band came back for an encore, according to Louis Pepe '88, a student who was present at the party. Midway through the song, Henniger and Siedel started arguing. Henniger then left, and the lights were turned on, Pepe said.

When Henniger returned, the argument continued and eventually ended up on the stage. Pepe said that Siedel "fell on the stage. Whether she was pushed or tripped, I don't know."

Members of the band stood between Siedel and Henniger as they continued arguing. Henniger took her by the arm and walked her off the stage, then arrested her, Pepe continued.

Zev L. Waldman '89 "saw this Campus Police [officer] get up on the stage and push things around and stop the show. Then a girl came up on the stage and yelled at the CP and the CP ... yelled back."

An undergraduate student, who asked not to be named, agreed with Pepe's account. He said that Henniger "did shove her into one of the speakers. She was unhappy about that. ...

"I don't think the band could have stopped immediately," he added. "They seemed to enjoy playing and the people were enjoying it."

A second student, who also declined to be named, said, "The manager and the Campus Policeman were arguing in an adjoining section of the room." Henniger then asked her to step outside, but she insisted she had to go to the bathroom first.

When she did not leave, "the policeman pushed her up against the wall and arrested her," the student said. Henniger read Siedel her rights, the student added, and "the manager said, `I know my rights. I'm a lawyer.' "

The student said he never saw the alleged kick, but he asserted, Henniger "was definitely grabbing her and pulling her before she could have attacked him."

Siedel was indicted Monday in Cambridge District Court for being a disorderly person and for assault and battery on a police officer. She pleaded "not guilty" to both counts. Her trial is scheduled for Nov. 21.