NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A broken window at Yale led to felony charges. Those charges led to a protest this morning at the New Haven courthouse. The man who broke the window is speaking out, telling News8 he couldn’t stand to look at the racist image on it anymore.
It is a case that involves some history. More than 200 years of it. Yale has a college named after South Carolina Senator and Vice President John C. Calhoun. He went to Yale two centuries ago, and he was a big fan of slavery. In the college dining hall there are a bunch of stained glass windows depicting scenes associated with Calhoun’s life. One of them was two slaves carrying baskets of cotton.
Corey Menafee worked in that dining hall. He is charged with smashing that window. He told News8 he just couldn’t take it anymore.Related: Yale employee smashes window over controversial image
“I try to work and help people as hard as I can, and as you look up there’s this image of slaves,” Menafee said on the courthouse steps this morning. “I mean, it’s the 21st century, we shouldn’t have to see that.”
On June 13th, he said he took a broom stick and smashed that out that window.
“The glass actually fell out onto the sidewalk – a public sidewalk – where it was very close to a passerby, endangering her safety,” explained Yale University spokesperson Eileen O’Connor.
Despite that, O’Connor said Yale University did not want to press charges against Menafee. However, because the glass endangered someone on a public sidewalk, the state of Connecticut charged Menafee with felony criminal mischief.
That prompted three dozen protesters to take to the courthouse steps for his arraignment, chanting things like “Justice for Corey Menafee.”
Ironically, even before the window smashing, Yale had already decided to replace the window depicting slaves and several others.
“And they will be removed, taken to the art museum where they may be displayed in the future, but in context,” O’Connor said.
When News8 informed Menafee of that, his reaction was, “That alone lets me know my actions weren’t in vain. There’s some type of change.”
Nothing changed in court today. Menafee just hired a lawyer this morning. She told the judge that Yale didn’t want to press charges. The judge pointed out only the prosecutor can drop the charges. They have to all get together and talk. they will be back in court July 26th.