NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A police raid gone wrong in New Haven. A mother of two says she was terrified when her third-floor East Street apartment was mistakenly raided by New Haven Police last week.
“I’m still shaken up. It just looked like something straight out of a movie – when they have their weapons drawn and flashlights – it was dark it was 6 a.m.,” Stacey Wezenter said.
Stacey said the officers from the special victims unit kicked down her door unannounced at 6 a.m. on April 6, causing damage to the lock, knob and entire door frame.
“They just keep asking me who’s in the house – as they are handcuffing me. And I’m just like my kids! Why am I being arrested? And they wouldn’t explain anything to me,” she said.
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Stacey told News 8 this all unfolded as her 4-year-old son was sleeping and her 20-year-old daughter was just down the hall.
“Thank God my son slept through the whole thing – two officers went in her room and told her to stay in bed,“ Wezenter said.
Stacey said officers kept asking if there was a man in the apartment.
“They finally said – who is Tim? And I was like, my downstairs neighbor? And that’s when the guy who had handcuffed me started to take the handcuffs off,” she said.
Wezenter soon realized they were looking for her neighbor. Police said the raid was part of a child pornography investigation of 35-year-old Tim Yergeau, who lived in an apartment a floor below.
Four days after the botched raid, Yergeau died by suicide.
On Monday, New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said he opened an internal affairs investigation into the incident.
Chief Jacobson plans on releasing body camera footage and the redacted police report on Monday, which is currently sealed in court. He said the footage will show that although a mistake was made, viewers will see that police were apologetic towards Stacey and fixed her door, noting “they did what was right after.”
The footage will show Stacey being handcuffed for about a minute and 30 seconds before officers realized they were in the wrong house.
He said that officers acted so quickly to enter the home because there was a chance that Yergeau could have destroyed the evidence upon their arrival.
“Yes, we went into the wrong residence, but we went into the apartment for an investigation for child pornography, which we take very seriously,” Chief Jacobson said.
Chief Jacobson acknowledged the mistake and said they are going to do everything possible to make it right.
“I reached out a couple of times, I went over the house. We haven’t connected, but I just feel for her and her children it is a terrifying experience,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said.
In the meantime, Stacey is trying to just get by and wants to move out of New Haven.
“I’m usually a strong person. I usually shake a lot of things off. I’m usually strong-minded and strong-willed… but now I feel like I need to talk to a therapist – I need someone to help me unload all of this because I don’t know how to do this by myself,” Wezenter said.
This is still an active criminal investigation. Chief Jacobson said further arrests could be made going forward.