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News

New Haven officials want to be paid for overtime costs for a banned motorcycle rally

Motorcycle riders at East Coastin' in New Haven
SOPHIE SONNENFELD
/
New Haven Independent
Motorcyle riders at East Coastin' in New Haven.

The city of New Haven plans to send a bill for more than $100,000 in police and public works overtime to the organizer of an unpermitted 5,000-person motorcycle rally that tore through the Annex.

Interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez and Mayor Justin Elicker made that announcement Monday morning during their latest weekly crime-related news conference held on the third floor of police headquarters at 1 Union Ave.

Dominguez and Elicker said the city has been busy calculating the cost of overtime incurred by city staffers who worked extra duty on Saturday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Sept. 26, in response to the EastCoastin’ motorcycle event. Roughly 150 city police officers worked the event, as well as public works employees who helped with dump trucks and barricades.

That event saw over 5,000 people fill the city’s industrial waterfront to rev their engines, do motorcycle stunts and burnouts, and temporarily take over Waterfront Street.

Police also chased cyclists the Friday night before the event, as they lit fires and rode rampant on city streets. Many came from out of town and filled local hotels for the gathering.

So far police have made four EastCoastin’-related custodial arrests, including the event’s organizer, Gabe Canestri Jr. City police have charged him with misdemeanor counts of inciting a riot and second-degree breach of peace.

Canestri has not yet entered a plea in the case and has been released from custody on a $10,000 bond.

At Monday’s presser, Dominguez and Elicker said the total city overtime cost for the event so far is over $100,000.

That number will likely rise, Dominguez said, given that the event stretched across two pay periods, from a Saturday night into a Sunday morning.

“We’ll be pursuing payment from Canestri,” she said. “We do feel we have some tools to get the payment back for this.”

How might the city go about collecting that overtime cost from Canestri?

Dominguez said the police department is working with the city’s corporation counsel on how exactly to proceed. One route could involve asking for restitution at Canestri’s next court date in his ongoing criminal case. Another route could be to pursue a separate civil action against Canestri focused on collecting that $100,000-plus.

“We have not yet sent the bill,” Elicker said. “Because we’re still calculating the bill.”

Canestri declined to comment for this story, citing advice from his lawyer not to comment publicly about EastCoastin’ 2021 as his criminal case continues.