Police: Hall '05 is not a suspect

by Megh Duwadi | 11/20/01 6:00am

After being paraded through the main dining area of Food Court Thursday evening by Safety and Security and Hanover Police officers, Timothy Hall '05 was informed yesterday that he was no longer a suspect in the ongoing assault investigation, according to Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone.

Hall, who was interrogated inside the office of Food Court supervisor Chris Halford about his involvement in the recent attacks on two female students, subsequently returned to the portion of Thayer Hall formerly occupied by Westside.

The police "followed through, and [Hall] is not considered a suspect," Giaccone said.

He added that since Thursday's query, "There have been no new developments" in the Hanover Police Department's investigation. "There's nothing to report regarding pending arrests."

When asked why Hall was not permitted to remain in relative anonymity by being escorted through the rear entrance of the cafeteria and instead had to pass through a crowd of inquisitive peers, Giaccone gave a vague response.

"When you're working with situations that are ongoing and dynamic, you don't know what you're dealing with."

"I'm not commenting on police procedure," he added. "Under the circumstances ... it was a no-win situation."

Giaccone, while vehemently affirming Hall's innocence, defended the department's actions. "We would have been criticized either way," he said.

"If we felt he was such a strong suspect," he continued, "we wouldn't have left him in the dining hall."

Giaccone also censured The Dartmouth's decision to print the student's name in a story that appeared last Friday, asserting that "it was irresponsible."

Andy Brauninger '02, who was an eyewitness to the dining hall incident, said, "You could tell that something was happening ... it was very eventful. Everyone noticed as soon as the first police officer walked in."

Brauninger added, "To me, it seemed like they had a very clear objective -- I thought it was rude for the officers to take him out that way. It drew a lot of unnecessary attention."

Dean of the College James Larimore maintained his confidence in the Department's handling of the investigation.

"The Hanover Police are continuing to investigate the assaults that occurred earlier this month, and the College is continuing to cooperate with that investigation," he said.

Larimore added, "Our preference is that we have some advance notice, so that we can provide a bridge between the police and the student ... but the police felt the need to interview the student [then]. I am pleased to learn that the student has been cleared of any involvement in the assaults."

"We all have a responsibility," he told The Dartmouth, "to avoid jumping to conclusions about the nature or purpose of interactions between police officers and other members of our community ... we all want the police to identify the person or people responsible."

The assailant's affiliation with the College has not yet been determined by police officials.

While a composite sketch has been developed, no release date has been scheduled.

Giaccone held that the investigation, led by Detective Frank Moran, is progressing.