Lawyer says police were responsible for blocking ambulance at New Haven protest, not protesters

Credit: State Police

NEW HAVEN — A man was arrested after police said protesters blocked an ambulance that was carrying a critically ill patient Saturday in New Haven.

The man was arrested around 4:25 p.m. by state police, after police said they were called to I-95 north near the exit 47 ramp.

They said around 100-200 protesters blocked the highway and, following a request for assistance from the New Haven Police Department, state police said they went to the area with riot gear and pepper spray.

State police said the protesters were in the process of being cleared from the highway, but not before they blocked an ambulance carrying a critically ill patient. Due to this delay, EMTs had to perform an emergency medical procedure in the ambulance, instead of at the hospital, state police said.

State police tried to find and identify the leader of the protest, who was leading the protest using a microphone and loudspeaker. Officers eventually located Norman Clement, 67, of New Haven, on the corner of Church and Chapel Streets.

Clement ran away from police through the crowd, knocking over several of his supporters, before being apprehended, according to state police, and then actively resisted arrest and was sprayed with pepper spray.

Clement was charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer and reckless use of the highway by a pedestrian. He was released on a $5,000 bail and was scheduled to appear at New Haven Superior Court on Monday, February 13.

But an attorney representing the protesters said police are responsible for problems at the demonstration, including the delay of the ambulance stuck in traffic. Attorney Patricia Kane said protesters had asked police to inform them if emergency vehicles needed to get through — and that officers didn’t do so. Kane said she has been told the patient was a woman in labor.

The protesters were protesting President Donald Trump‘s immigration order.

The Connecticut State Police reminded the public that protests blocking any highway or roadway is not only a crime, but dangerous and won’t be tolerated. All laws will be strictly enforced, they said.