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Duff says Norwalk Police ‘spat at’ him; union counters accusations

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), right, at a March press conference concerning the coronavirus. At left is Mayor Harry Rilling.

NORWALK, Conn. — State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) says he was “mistreated and spat at” this summer in a meeting with Norwalk Police officers. Duff characterizes the officers’ behavior, in the wake of the passage of a controversial police accountability bill, as “rude, abusive and outright unprofessional.”

Duff made those comments to Norwalk Police Union President Lt. David O’Connor in a Aug. 20 letter, provided to NancyOnNorwalk by O’Connor on Wednesday, describing events that occurred July 24. Duff also said, in a Wednesday interview with NancyOnNorwalk, that after the bill was passed in July someone drove by his house two times a day, for two weeks, yelling at the house. He suspects it was an off-duty Norwalk Police officer.

On Wednesday, a State Capitol Police cruiser was parked in Duff’s driveway.

A State Capitol Police parked outside the Duff family’s home Wednesday. (John Levin)

“The State Capitol Police are a wonderful and dedicated group of men and women. I cannot comment on the measures these professional officers take to ensure the safety of those they are sworn to protect,” Duff wrote when asked about that.

Duff had earlier said that the harassing driver hadn’t come by for a few weeks. Duff’s complaints about Norwalk Police were publicized in articles published Monday and Tuesday by Hearst Media and the Hartford Courant and have drawn many comments on social media.

O’Connor on Wednesday disputed Duff’s version of the events at police headquarters, while agreeing that the officers’ behavior was less than ideal. O’Connor indicated he is perplexed as to why Duff is protesting what occurred now, after initially seeming to take in stride.

“I am aware of the situation and have heard conflicting versions from those involved,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “It is quite clear there was tension and unfortunate incidents at the police department on the day of Senator Duff’s visit. I have already spoken with Chief Kulhawik who is looking into this matter.”

“The whole situation is very disappointing,” Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said. “I’m disappointed that it occurred at all and disappointed that several weeks later, as emotions have calmed, it has been highly publicized for whatever reasons when we are scheduled to meet later this week.  I recall it was a very emotional time for officers as well as members in the legislature as the police bill was being debated and voted upon. There was a lot of unknowns at that time.”

Although many people understood Duff to mean he’d been spit on, on Wednesday he explained that he was “spat at:” the officer, who he has known for years, spat on the ground near him, he said.

“I still firmly believe most Norwalk Police officers work hard, do their job but I do also believe that the department needs to do some soul searching,” Duff said.

 

Greeted by obscenities

Duff publicized his complaints Tuesday on the social media site Next Door, titling the post “My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at the Norwalk Police Department.”

In his Aug. 20 letter, Duff said there is “no doubt” about what he “vividly remembers” about Friday, July 24.

Officers “showed their true colors” by saying, “What the f**k is he doing here?” as he walked down the hallway to the police headquarters community room, Duff wrote. He had agreed to meet with the union’s executive board but other officers “stormed the room as a show of force to try and intimidate me,” he said.

A message from Norwalk Police Officer Marc Suda to State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), as posted by Suda on Facebook.

In a “moment I will never forget,” after the meeting ended, he walked outside the community room with an officer who is not on the executive board, he said.

“As we were talking, the single door opened and I saw one of your officers and about twenty other officers behind him,” Duff wrote. “He then looked at me in a menacing manner, and spit at me. Yes, spit at me. I was shocked and could not believe this was the Department I have supported my entire legislative career.”

He continued, “As soon as that happened, a Lieutenant told me I should leave the headquarters immediately. Dumbfounded, I asked him to repeat himself. He then stated again that I should leave. I then inquired if my safety was in danger. The Lieutenant responded that officers were angry. Should any taxpaying resident, much less an invited guest, even have to ask if he or she is safe at the Norwalk Police Department?”

Then, as the lieutenant and another officer were escorting him to his car, “roughly thirty officers came out from the back of the police station to the public parking lot where my car was located,” Duff continued. “As I was driving away, it looked as if they were going to surround my car. Whether that was their intention or not, I don’t know, but it appeared to be another bullying and intimidation tactic. The message was vividly clear, ‘We are watching you.’”

 

‘They’ll say something stupid’

Video recorded July 24th from three surveillance cameras mounted outside Norwalk Police Headquarters confirms an officer gesticulated spitting toward the ground when he saw Duff standing outside the building. The officer opened the door, looked at Duff, then turned his head down and to the left and spat; it didn’t appear any saliva actually exited his mouth. The spit wasn’t aimed at Duff, who was about nine feet away.

About a dozen officers walked out to the visitors’ parking lot as Duff was getting into his car and driving away to demonstrate their displeasure. They never approached Duff’s car, and from the time he pulled out of a parking space to the time he drove past them and reached the lot’s exit on South Main St. amounted to about 14 seconds, based on the recordings’ timestamps.

In video from a camera aimed at the visitor lot, Sgt. Salvatore Calise can be seen directing the officers to get onto the sidewalk adjacent to the lot. Some officers were still entering the visitors’ lot by the time Duff had driven away.

The recordings do not contain audio. During a phone interview, Calise said that at the time the officers are seen entering the visitors’ lot, “I told the guys, ‘Stay on the sidewalk and do not block this driveway.’”

Calise said some of the officers raised their hands “in (a) sort of ‘What’s up?’” manner, but he did not hear any verbal remarks.

NancyOnNorwalk observed the recordings at Police Headquarters Wednesday afternoon with O’Connor and Det. Daniel Fitzmaurice, vice president of Norwalk Police Union Local 1727, which again, O’Connor leads.

Posts on State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff’s Facebook page.

After discussions between O’Connor and Deputy Chief Susan Zecca, it was agreed that the recordings could be viewed but not copied, and no photos could be taken of them being displayed.

NancyOnNorwalk filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain copies of the videos, and O’Connor said a decision on whether to release them is under review by the city’s law department.

The arrangement for viewing the recordings was having them playing simultaneously – two frames on top and one on the bottom. They were recorded synchronously with matching time stamps, so it is possible to follow movement from one camera to the other.

Regarding Duff’s assertion that a lieutenant told him to leave headquarters immediately, Calise said Duff was standing outside the building’s South Main Street entrance talking with three officers and that, “because (officers’) tempers were high and people were upset,” it was he who asked Duff to move the conversation to the visitor parking lot where he was parked.

Calise said he made the request after encountering a group of angry officers in the hallway outside the Community Room, where Duff had just finished his meeting with members of the police union executive board. That hallway leads to the entrance outside of which Duff was standing, and the officers could see him there.

“I opened the door and said ‘Bob, whatever you guys are doing over here, I don’t care, just take it by your car, because you’re inciting these guys and they’re going to say something stupid,’” Calise said.

Calise said Duff pointed at him and said, “So you’re throwing me out.”

Calise said he responded, “I’m not throwing you out. I’m just asking you to take it to your car, because these guys are upset and they’re going to say something stupid.”

“My job as a sergeant,” Calise said, “is to make sure they don’t do anything stupid or say anything stupid.”

Duff and the officers he was speaking with then moved to the visitors lot to continue their conversation, and after several minutes, the recording shows Calise approaching them.

Calise said he reviewed in his mind the exchange he had with Duff and decided that Duff was “setting me up.”

He said he went outside to speak to Duff a second time to say, “Bob, just so we’re on the same page, so we’re clear, I am not throwing you out of the Police Department. It’s an open building and it’s open to the public.”

“All I was trying to do was defuse the situation. I was trying to deescalate something before it happened,” Calise said. “And you know what? I’ll stand by that decision till the day I’m dead. That was a smart move, to get the guys away from Bob.”

 

‘He’s the one trying to make us look bad’

O’Connor said Duff described the situation to him after the meeting as “a couple of guys screaming, but I’m used to it. It’s no big deal.”

Norwalk Police Lt. David O’Connor, police union president, at a 2017 endorsement for Mayor Harry Rilling, left. (File photo)

O’Connor apologized, but explained the guys are upset, he said.

He contrasted what Calise said occurred in the parking lot with how Duff characterized it in his letter.

“You read that letter,” O’Connor said, “it makes it seem like there’s a mob chasing him down.”

“I’ll tell you right now,” O’Connor continued. “Connecticut police officers in general, but certainly Norwalk police officers, are well trained, well educated, we’re well rounded. We’re respectful of our command staff and we’re respectful of our community, so that sh-t would be way out of character.”

Regarding Duff’s description of officers who are not members of the board “storming the room as a show of force to try and intimidate me,” O’Connor said six or seven members of the board attended the meeting. Eight other officers showed up wanting to attend it, and he agreed to have Sgt. David Orr, a former police union president, and Officer Mark Suda sit in with the understanding that everyone would be respectful on all sides.

“Bob’s perception here is that somehow we’re trying to make him look bad,” O’Connor said. “He’s the one trying to make us look bad, and we tried with the most sincerest efforts to try to have a decent relationship here.”

As for what happened following the meeting, “It wasn’t our finest hour, I’ll admit that,” O’Connor said.

He also said he doesn’t believe a Norwalk Police officer was driving by the house.

Duff said Wednesday that it’s a “reasonable suspicion” that’s it’s an off-duty member of the Norwalk Police department.

The car came by between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m., and again between 3:30 and 4 p.m., he said. His wife saw it slow down as it passed, then drive away.

“It takes it to a different level,” Duff said. “I’m just saying there’s no other reason other than the anger that the cops shown on that Friday that would lead me to think that anybody else would stop in front of my house twice a day and do something like that.

The State Capitol Police cruiser was at Duff’s house at least from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

 

 

‘It is clear’ that some officers’ behavior ‘was not acceptable’

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), as shown in a CT-N video in May.

Duff, in his letter, said, “there are many good and talented police officers in Norwalk, and I am grateful for their service and sacrifice. The ones who subjected me to abuse on July 24, 2020, are not among them, and they deserve no thanks at all.”

He went on to list 10 ways in which he’s been a partner to law enforcement, including co-authoring and shepherding into law the country’s first PTSD bill for first responders, going on ride-alongs and appointing numerous Norwalk Police officers to Statewide Boards and Commissions.

Duff to O’Connor Aug. 20 2020

 

Duff is being challenged for reelection by Republican candidate Elisavet “Ellie” Kousidis. Norwalk Republicans charge that Duff went forward with this story because he knew he wasn’t going to get the Norwalk Police endorsement.

“When you hear the footsteps, like most Dems are hearing you can either be on the attack or you can change the narrative and become the victim,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Carl Dickens said in a Facebook post.

A post on State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff’s Facebook page.

“This ‘event’ conveniently allows him to explain to his supporters that he was denied the police union endorsement this time because the police are ‘bad people’ (begging the question (for any people capable of rational thought) as to why he accepted all of his earlier endorsements from the police),” RTC Vice Chair Mike Lyons said, charging that “Duff wants to be looked on as virtuous by his fellow leftists, and in the liberal world you achieve that status by being victimized, not by being successful.”

Rilling, former Norwalk Police Chief, said, “I am hopeful there can be a civil resolution to this situation. Let us not lose sight of the fact our police officers are dedicated and professional public servants who protect our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Let us also not lose sight of the fact Senator Duff has tirelessly served us in the State Legislature and has brought millions of dollars in State funds back to our community. He has also been an unwavering and strong advocate of our police and fire departments.”

He continued, “All of the social media comments are counter productive to finding a resolution. I know Sen. Duff and the Chief are meeting this week, and I hope this matter can be resolved.  If necessary, I will facilitate a meeting between Senator Duff and the Police Union Executive Board.  This is very disruptive and it is imperative we resolve this once and for all so we can move forward.”

Duff and Kulhawik are set to meet Friday. Kulhawik wrote:

“The description of events as relayed by officers differs a bit from Sen Duff’s account, but regardless, it is clear that the behavior of some was not acceptable as everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. I can appreciate that Sen Duff felt disrespected by some members of the department when he visited the union meeting that Friday.

“I hope to have good meeting and discussion with the Senator as we have always enjoyed an excellent relationship.”

 

“I’d like to see what he intends to do about this situation and others because what keeps me up is if the Norwalk Police can treat people like me like this, what are they doing when other people who don’t look like me, who don’t have the same platform I do?” Duff said, describing himself as “white, privileged, Senate Majority Leader.”

As for “other situations,” he said, “What else is happening? How are they going to improve the situation going forward for the community? It’s one thing to have policy disagreements and argue over proposed bills and disagree on votes, but once it’s done then we need to come together and work for the betterment of our community. Their action, on that day, was not in the spirit of moving forward. I am fully used to tough questions, pointed questions, people angry… I would never have thought I’d be treated the way I was at the department, by Norwalk police who I have supported my entire life.”

58 comments

Ct. V September 3, 2020 at 6:31 am

I am not in any way a Duff supporter, but the fact any person was treated this way by Norwalk Police officers in the police department is appalling. The fact that no one was disciplined and that Norwalk PD brass seems to think this behavior is acceptable towards any citizen is the problem that people have been protesting against.

Between this and the racist fire department I get how people of color in Norwalk feel like they need protection from city government rather than protection by it.

Curious September 3, 2020 at 7:06 am

So Bob is upset that police officers are pissed off about the disrespect the BLM nonsense has created, and that Bob apparently supports. Now Bob wants to benefit from this by playing the victim card.

Worse, he is leaving the door open by inviting others to pile on with his comments about how police might treat others less “privileged than him”.

Good job Bob. Way to foster unity for the common good.

Maybe you would want to exercise some common sense about the policies you support. Apparently running CT over a fiscal cliff is not good enough. Now you want to undermine confidence in our law enforcement. Disgraceful.

You should be the peacemaker, not the provocateur.

Anon 4 fear of Retribution September 3, 2020 at 7:33 am

Spitting at people sounds like the least of the NPD’s problems. Police mob and intimidation behavior should be brought to light. Clearly there are anger management and conflict resolution issues affecting officers on the job. Ashamed of how police leaders and some politicians are shifting the blame to Duff. (Anything to calm the police mob, it seems). If he can’t let the public know about these types of problems, who can?

Anne W September 3, 2020 at 7:52 am

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers, and the barrage of other atrocities, Mayor Rilling held a Town Hall Forum with the Police Chief and others resulting in the Mayor’s assertion that he would create a Task Force or other Committee to continue the necessary discussion and seek remedies to continued issues between police and community, particularly marginalized members of the Norwalk community. That was 3 months ago; where’s the Task Force? Where’s the action? Where’s the resolve to finally address this?

RIDICULOUS!!! September 3, 2020 at 8:21 am

It’s amazing. If they can treat an elected official like that, can you imagine how they treat minorities during a traffic stop. Some officers should not be police officers because they don’t know how to control their anger, therefore they should not carry a gun. The offer who spat should be disciplined. Wrong is wrong, and I wish White Americans would say that. Bad cops are a problem and all this won’t stop until the good cops speak up. We all bleed and we all have a heart, stop making your decisions based on the color of a person’skin.

Victor Cavallo September 3, 2020 at 8:44 am

There are social justice and civil rights-type lawyers licking their chops waiting to file lawsuits against Norwalk cops, along with the NPD and the City. The first one should be framed and hung on a Bob Duff “Wall of Shame” right outside Police HQs, whether or not he gets re-elected. That will appropriately define Bob Duff’s legacy.

Kay Anderson September 3, 2020 at 8:53 am

The attempt to intimidate Sen. Duff is appalling… and in plain sight. No good officer deserves to be tarnished by the actions of bullying fellow colleagues. And no one in Norwalk should ever have to worry about being a victim of such outrageous behavior by those sworn to protect the public.

john j flynn September 3, 2020 at 9:03 am

Video is only used when it confirms what they are saying. Where is he Ezra Priest Video? The Alfred Esposito video was edited 4 times. Spitting at a Senator? If Duff set them up for publicity after defunding Roselle, one bad apple ruins the Bunch.

Play the tape. The Stamford Police put the City at risk and now Norwalk is in play. FOI does not work, so who can be trusted? Spahr will cover up 300,000 felonies. Demand the FOI releases. You have a right to exculpatory evidence it is in the Constitution in this Sanctuary State.

Bryan Meek September 3, 2020 at 9:24 am

Pretending to be a victim of an abusive police force is a new low for Duff.

Any mention on when any of our shut down businesses can re-open? Any mention of why our $2 million taxpayer funded re-opening plan is now being ignored? The curve has been flat for 24 weeks now and we just got another 5 months of shutdowns ordered. Any explanations on real issues facing this state?

Ex-norwalker September 3, 2020 at 9:30 am

I think Duff should do some soul searching and see that his actions get consequences. Did he think he would be greeted with open arms? Stop using this as a stunt to get sympathy votes. It’s time for you to GO!

M Murray September 3, 2020 at 10:17 am

Good article. After reading Bob’s social media posts I commented the following:
So I have questions regarding details on this report and need clarifications as I like to talk to different people and get different perspectives on what transpired, and the details are what is important…

After arriving in headquarters, officers using expletives demanded to know what I was doing there. “Officers” is plural. How many? What were their words? You can abbreviate for decency sake. Were they calling you expletive names? Was it a simple “What the eff are you doing here?” Etc..

“others — rank-and-file members — entered the room in what was a show of force.” “Show of force” as in violent or as in showing opposition to your position to the bill? Details are important here as it is common for many groups who support or oppose legislation to come together before their legislators in numbers to demonstrate that support or opposition. July 24th being a Friday, would mean that their weekly extra work sign-ups were that day. Normally, there are many off-duty officers in the building that come in to sign up for their extra jobs for the week. Was that the case to your knowledge? Were off-duty officers hanging around and wanted to express their opinion about the legislation?

“As we were talking, the single door opened and I saw one of the officers, and about twenty other officers behind him. He then looked at me in a menacing manner, and spit at me. Yes, spit at me.”
“20 others behind him”. “Spit at me”. Again I would like more details. I assume you know who the officer was, but choose not to name them here. I respect that and am assuming you aren’t claiming not to know who it was. How far away was this officer from you when he spat? 1 foot? 3 feet? 10 feet? That would seem to make a difference as to intent. I hope “at you” isn’t a vague term for one of those look at you and spit on the ground insults. “20 others behind him”. What were they doing?

“As I was driving away, police came out from the back of the station and looked as if they were going to surround my car. Whether that was their intention or not, I don’t know, but it appeared to be another bullying and intimidation tactic.”
That one is really vague. “As I was driving away”. Were the police coming out behind your car as you were driving away? They couldn’t surround you if you were already driving away from them. Maybe just a poor choice of words there. Needs clarification. “I don’t know their intention, but it appeared”. Big problem with that one. Individual police officers could now be sued by people who don’t know their intention but think it appears…..”

“a motorist drove by my house twice a day, slowing down, stopping and shouting more expletives that were heard by my wife and kids.”
Again, we need more details on this. What was said? Why are you linking this event to the police station? Do you have some reason to believe it was an officer? “Slowing down AND STOPPING!!” This means someone actually observed the car to know it slowed down and stopped. What kind of car? Color? Description of driver? Reported? Maybe neighbors can help out here.

“if they treat somebody like me who’s white, has privilege, is elected and is the Senate majority leader, how are they treating others who don’t have that same platform and don’t have the ability to speak up like I do?

Could it be that as an elected official, that is why they protested? Seems like that large groups show up to protest politicians all the time. Aside from the “spitting”, wouldn’t you expect people to appear to let you know they strongly oppose legislation that would adversely affect their lives and the lives of their family with no recourse against false allegations? Why bring race into this issue? I look forward to finding out more details about this incident from both sides.
It seems that unlike other publishers, you actually dig in a little. Received many answers, although Bob didn’t answer on his post for all to see. My question is why, after having over a month to write/ edit/rewrite his letter/post, were his details so vague as to make the reader misconstrue the facts? What the f$&@ is he doing here? Is many obscenities directed at him? Surely with the emphasis he put on his “Spit At” comments, the reader would assume he was directly spit at. If he had simply wrote that the officer looked at him and spit on the ground, we would have known that it was merely a sign of disgust and sustain for a politician, not an attempt to spit on him. Still don’t know anything about the”car or driver” that his family has seen slow down in front of his house and yell out the window for two weeks”. No description, color, make, model or identifying features. Has to be an off duty officer though. Couldn’t be someone who believes in the democratic process and fears mail in voter fraud that the legislature approved on the same day. Couldn’t be someone who objects to the legislature letting Lamont ruin the economy with his Executive Orders that have destroyed family businesses. Or teachers afraid of dying from Corona in school. Or parents of school children. Or any other politically affected group. No ring cameras in the neighborhood? Wait a month to report it so all those videos are gone.
And let’s not forget, he is not a civilian. He is the government. As such, he was there as a politician, not a citizen. Much like when he is at any other protest.. is he this offended by every group he receives protest from? Does every protest group “try to intimidate and bully him” when they confront him, or is it just his law enforcement constituents? He wonders how “people who don’t look like him feeel”. Does he now wondor how innocent motorists feel when they are suddenly surrounded on a street or highway that is blocked off with a group of peaceful protestors spitting, chanting, and pounding on their cars? Does he “wonder” what iit is liked when not 8 or 9 people, but hundreds, block the streets of your business? Would that be intimidating or bullying to him? How about the officers who are working these protests that are outnumbered by at least 10 to one? Does Bob wonder how they feel when there are bottles and rocks being thrown at them? When they don’t have the option to leave?

Bruce Kimmel September 3, 2020 at 10:29 am

Sometimes it’s more comfortable to deny that the political nonsense afflicting the country has trickled down into our local politics. Unfortunately, that’s obviously not the case. How else can we explain:

1. Moderate Norwalk Democrats are now considered “leftists.”
2. Our State Senator is called “Little Bobby.”
3. Comments on social media about local Democrats are often crude or disgusting.
4. The Republican candidate for State Senator considers her opponent to be “evil.”
5. Anti-Semitism in the fire department is not handled appropriately.
6. Cheating takes place during the recent firefighters exam.

No wonder local Republicans lost 23 out of the 24 BOE and Common Council seats in the last municipal election. Of course, they blame it on “Trump.” But they need to do a better job monitoring their own behavior. Does anyone truly believe Bob Duff is going to lose this November?

Ct. V September 3, 2020 at 10:54 am

@curious Again, not a fan of Duff but I don’t see him playing the victim card. I see him saying that if the NPD feels like it’s acceptable to act in a threatening manner towards a state senator (who has access to the media and all the things that go with it) how do we think they’re acting towards people who might not agree with them but don’t have Duff’s advantages.

Again, we need to hold officers to a higher standard because of the power they have. They don’t get to threaten and spit at people they disagree with.

John ONeill September 3, 2020 at 10:54 am

Bob Duff is being challenged by progressive caucus for his leadership role in the Senate. This is a perfect event to show his left wingers he’s their man. What I find distasteful is Bob “liking” some very incendiary post’s on twitter this morning. An example: “Why go after a few bad apples, when the whole orchid is bad”? – Why would he agree with that statement? More importantly, why would any Norwalker vote for someone who believes that statement about our police officers? Holy Cow!!
As a 30 year resident and Taxpayer I call for Bob Duff to resign. There’s no place in Norwalk for this type of hysterical rhetoric. He should be ashamed of himself.
I’m sure many would agree this is one of the most bizarre and outrageous issues to come up in Norwalk in quite some time. Harry Rilling is in a very interesting spot. It is my hope he does the right thing, as I’m sure he can relate to every officer in the force.
Duff should take his white privilege and sail off to Tahiti and never come back. .

Laws 4 Everyone September 3, 2020 at 10:58 am

Does the below law apply the the facts asserted? No one should be above the law, much less government officials including law enforcement. We should fight (appropriately) against tyranny, both foreign and domestic- I think that is a founding principle of this great nation. (p.s. were the officers in uniform, acting Under Color and on paid time when they did what is shown on video and admitted by the PD personnel in quotes in this article?) Accountability of all in power is a good thing, don’t you agree? If not, why not?

Title 53a Penal Code
Chapter 952 Penal Code: Offenses
Sec. 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor.
Sec. 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against another person or such other person’s property; or (4) publicly exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to do. For purposes of this section, “public place” means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.

(b) Breach of the peace in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Alice September 3, 2020 at 11:24 am

I suggest that these people continually finding fault with our police department, or any other for that matter, shadow (follow) a police officer on duty for a week or so, both day shift, afternoon shift and midnight shift to get a REAL feel for the job! They don’t have a chance in he** coming across many of the people roaming out streets all times of the day or night. Don’t complain on how police officers handle situations until you’ve walked a few shifts in their shoes!

Another Anon 4 for fear of Retribution September 3, 2020 at 11:39 am

Had a civilian behaved this way to a police officer, they would have been cited or arrested. We can’t have a double standard.

As for the previous poster Curious, you are fortunate that you’ve never been traumatized or abused before. People respond differently and on their own timelines. Not everyone processes abuse in the same way.

It’s unfortunate that the abusers in this situation couldn’t have owned up to their unprofessional behavior and done their part to defuse this situation. It further polarizes the situation when we’re already living in a polarized country.

Sadly, these “guys” reflect poorly on the many good cops we have on our force.

Baby shark September 3, 2020 at 12:55 pm

I think the NAACP you should get involved I went to school with at least a half a dozen of these police officers and they’re all white and racist.

Curious Voter September 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Hold on a minute, this sounds a lot like what trump does. Let me get this straight. It’s okay for him though??? “Most Dems are hearing you can either be on the attack or you can change the narrative and become the victim,” and “wants to be looked on as virtuous by his fellow leftists, and in the liberal world you achieve that status by being victimized, not by being successful.”
Simply change the words a bit, Dems to Repubs, leftists to conservatives and liberal to conservative. Trump does the same thing! Please explain the difference as a person with “rational thoughts. It’s clearly hypocritical. I support the Police just not the bad ones and accountability is a must. I think attacking the messenger instead of listening to the message is a problem. Deflection at it’s worst.

John ONeill September 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm

@Bruce Kimmel: I have three things I’d like to mention
1) I hope you’re feeling better
2) Although I don’t agree with you all the time I respect your opinion
3) If you scan thru Bob Duff’s twitter activity you may realize your candidate is much closer to our immature President than you think. If you’re a fair person, which I think you are you’ll agree.
Please don’t tow the company line on this one..

Ron Morris September 3, 2020 at 3:05 pm

John ONeill
Are you for real? Senator Duff was assaulted by the Norwalk Police and you call on him to resign. Just think how off the wall that sounds.
I call on the chief and all the brass at the failed NPD to resign. I also call on Rilling to fire them if they don’t resign. Each and every one of these cops that assaulted Senator Duff needs to be fired and charged.

Alice Are you attempting to justify the criminal behavior of the Norwalk Police Department? FYI their job is not as hard as you think. You are buying into the police union propaganda. Also let’s not forget if the job oi all that hard and the cop can’t handle it they could always quit.

This behavior by the Norwalk Police Department proves the need for the police accountability legislation.

M Murray September 3, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Will Bob print a retraction now that the video shows that no officer spit at him? It also appears from what Nancy reports that no officers attempted to surround his car.

Alice September 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm

To Mr.Morris – I am a widow of a Norwalk Police officer. I do not justify any criminal activity. But there are criminals out there that have to be dealt with and it’s a thankless job to those who choose to deal with it.

Isn't Norwalk Sad? September 3, 2020 at 6:04 pm

This is really a sad reflection of the way Norwalk has changed for the worse. It doesn’t matter who enters that police station. They should be treated with respect. When you take the oath your opinion doesn’t overshadow what your job is. Mark Suda sends a text to the senator saying I am no longer your friend. Are you really serious? Is this elementary school and he knocked your blocks over? The mayor of course won’t say anything like he normally does. A true politician. The chief says I wish Bob stayed quiet. I applaud Sal Calise for telling his co workers to step back to the curb. Sad for sure. The republicans lost 23 of 24 spots last year. Wasn’t Mark Suda the head of that party I believe.

John ONeill September 3, 2020 at 6:21 pm

@Ron Morris: Thank you for finally including me in your hall of fame. I think Mr. Duff is embellishing the truth for political gain and making up the rest for dramatic effect. It kind of reminds me of a girl I once dated in college. Exciting for about a week, but luckily the zaniness wore off and we went separate ways. I think she’s currently on her fifth husband as an aside.
After rereading the article I really believe our senator has come out publicly for political gain. Considering the current climate I find that distasteful at best and incendiary from a social standpoint. Hence. I believe he should resign. Maybe I’m in the minority on that, but at least I sleep well at night. Another reason I sleep well at night is the terrific job our police officers do 24/7/365.

JustaTaxpayer September 3, 2020 at 7:51 pm

Hate to break it to Bruce Kimmel. Even a glass a water with a ‘D’ on it wins in CT. Furthermore, Duff was likely the last to be picked on the school playground.

Norwalk resident September 3, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Reading thru all post this become more like bipartisan war. Some of you loosing and getting away from problem. Even in this article police officer admit and repeat couple times that officers are angry and can do something stupid.
Obviously officer didn’t have the way to control them and turn to talk to Senator. By description of the footage officer did walk on room, they apart and walk outside. This is unacceptable behavior for people in uniforms with guns who should protect and served.
I’m wondering what was Senator doing and don’t d he apart on officers or approach them in same way. What is wrong is wrong and need to be sanctioned, not protected with some excuses. Every officer involved should be held accountable for unprofessional way. If Senator didn’t come up with this in public many of us will never knew about it.
And lastly if there is nothing in footage from camera why NPD didn’t display them publicly? Why they still looking into that? Senator give his story in public but for me it’s look like police department waiting for lawyers and union to hide them out from situation that they make them look bad.
Looking for excuses for bad behavior making situation twice worse then it is.

Robert Kruse September 3, 2020 at 9:34 pm

A Capitol cruiser in his driveway for 2 HRS? Really? Try finding a State one on the Merritt as cars take off like V-2 rockets thanks to Duff and his likes for decimating the ranks of C.S.P.
from 1200 officers to less than 900. Another political actor that has stayed way too long at the party and doesn’t know when to get the heck off the stage.

M Murray September 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm

Good thing Laws4Everyone and Ron Morris aren’t police officers. Their belief that spitting on the ground, saying wheat the F&@$ is he doing here and standing in a group rises to the level of arrest or Breach of Peace went out the window with court decisions years ago. Making arrests on these facts would subject them to Bob’s individual liability legislation and they would be personally sued and held individually responsible, even though they felt they accurately read the law but didn’t know Supreme Court decisions.

Dana Pevsner September 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm

I am appalled that the Norwalk police officers would act in such a primitive and hostile way to an elected official.
As an earlier message has noted, if a prominent politician is treated like this, no wonder many people fear and deplore the police.
Mayor Rilling, get the Norwalk Police Dept under control so that they act with basic human decency.
Shame on the Norwalk Police!

Mitch Adis September 4, 2020 at 6:15 am

As a Senator, aren’t you obligated to listen to your constituents? If I don’t like what you are doing, should I smile and nod in approval or am I allowed to call you out? Stop pandering for votes and do what is best for our safety. Support the Police, hold everyone accountable for their behavior and move on.

Michael McGuire September 4, 2020 at 7:44 am

Makes you wonder what happened to make the police officers angry. Nancy – any background on that?

Meghead September 4, 2020 at 10:26 am

On a visit to NPD, to report numerous violations of a No-Contact Order of Protection (i.e., Restraining Order), two unrelated individuals were told by a red-faced, clenched-teeth Lt. ‘I’m not going to read that. We don’t read restraining orders.’ The Lt. then turned his back on the ‘Protected’ Victims, and disappeared behind a locked door, leaving 2 scared individuals incredulous in the NPD lobby. If NPD refuses to even read a Superior Court Judge’s orders, what else DON’T Norwalk police read?

Joanna Cooper September 4, 2020 at 10:27 am

Another political ploy by Duff where he paints himself as a victim for personal gain. I think he’s a weasel with zero credibility and this is retaliation for not being endorsed by the police union. Not surprised as he is known creating for these kinds overblown dramas. Vote him out.

Carl E Dickens September 4, 2020 at 10:52 am

As chair of the Norwalk Republican Party I would like to share with you the thoughts of our Vice Chair Mike Lyons.

There are a lot of reasons that Senator Duff is acting the way he is right now. This is one reason.

“Interesting backstory. Duff is facing a serious challenge to his Senate leadership position from a ‘woke’ progressive Democrat from New Haven. Duff doesn’t care about Norwalk; he takes it for granted (which is one of the reasons we send $10 in taxes to Hartford for every pathetic $1 we get back). Duff figures weather reports, ice cream socials and the occasional staged ‘news event’ is enough to keep the local yokels happy, while he supports big-bucks upstate initiatives like the ‘bus road to nowhere’ as we meanwhile beg for money to fix our schools. He is rewarded for his loyalty to the upstate Dems with his Senate majority position (which he views as his stepping stone to Himes’ congressional seat when Blumenthal retires and Himes moves up). Losing the majority leader position would derail the whole plan. So when faced with a woke progressive opponent challenging him for his post, what to do? Establish his own woke bona fides! This stunt (obviously carefully planned, given the many weeks that separated the event from Duff’s publicizing of it) does two things for Duff. First, it makes him a “victim” (which gives him the ultimate status symbol among liberals these days – nothing outweighs ‘victimhood’). Second, it establishes him as anti-police, an increasingly important credential among lefties. What better way to fight off the New Haven challenge than by looking even more lefty than the lefty challenger? He’ll sacrifice the support of the police to shore up those woke credentials (while also getting to engage in one of his favorite pastimes – preaning about his ‘moral superiority’ to the people around him). A trifecta!”

Non Partisan September 4, 2020 at 10:58 am

I’ve had the chance to talk with several police officers in NY

NY crime is soaring
Police are reluctant to make an arrest- if the offender puts up a struggle- and they subdue him/her- the officer can loose his job and be brought up on criminal charges if they don’t follow crazy protocols. Officers have families too.

After making an arrest- the offender if returned to the streets to it again.

Outcome- less arrests- more crime

Welcome to the progressive lefts new world

Claire Schoen September 4, 2020 at 11:20 am

@Robert – The Capitol Police is an independent organization from the state police – it’s sole purpose is to protect the Capitol and its employees. These are not the same guys you’d see (or not see) on the Merritt.

Drew A Blank September 4, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Norwalk deserves better all around.

Vengeful cops should not be tolerated in any form

(Average at best) Career Politicians who resort to dirt style instigating should step aside.

It’s really time for – New people bringing new ideas.

Harold Cobin September 4, 2020 at 2:52 pm

Michael McGuire: Here’s a link to the bill “AN ACT CONCERNING POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY,” that police are protesting against, linkhttps://search.cga.state.ct.us/r/adv/dtsearch.asp?cmd=getdoc&DocId=8737&Index=I%3a%5czindex%5c2020&HitCount=1&hits=5bde+&hc=1&req=%28number+contains+6004%29&Item=0

Mike September 4, 2020 at 6:49 pm

M Murray the video did not show anything to support the police claims. If anything is supported Duff. I am just glad that you are no longer a cop.
FYI police still make arrests for being spit at. Try a Google search and you will get thousands of hits.

Ct. V September 4, 2020 at 7:33 pm

@Carl Dickens everything you and Mike Lyons might say could be true. Bob Duff could be a mediocre senator and over dramatic. He might be trying to look woke. At the same time the NPD doesn’t seem to dispute that they did things that could reasonably be viewed as threatening towards a state senator and it seems likely that an officer spit towards him and others made nasty comments. Is that ok?

My view is police officers are there to serve everyone and have a high bar of impartiality to do that well. Nothing here makes me confident that if I was a minority in Norwalk I would feel comfortable reaching out to the NPD for help.

Phil Mcracken September 4, 2020 at 9:30 pm

Dear Harry, Does Covid send you into hibernation? Comment please to your people. Oh thats right, you don’t want to piss off Bob or the police department. Great leadership

Michael McGuire September 5, 2020 at 1:05 am

Hi Harold Corbin

I was thinking more along the lines of interviewing the police officers. What are their concerns? What is their opinion on the bill? It would be great to hear both sides in this. Particularly in light of the rioting being allowed in certain democratic run cities. Seems like Senator Duff’s comments and allegations could be a prelude to a ‘defundIng the police’ movement in Norwalk. Just look at the comments. Things are hard enough as it is and we all lose if that happens.

The reporting seemed a bit one sided for such a hot topic. Lots of comments which is good, but the volume might suggest a deeper cut given the broad interest.

Ron Morris September 5, 2020 at 1:23 am

We should defund the police. Defunding the police is not doing away with them. It is getting rid of the nonsense and assigning certain responsibilities to people that are more educated than the police. The police test actually tests the IQ of the applicant and if it too high the applicant does not get the job. So in other words they want low IQ.

Cari September 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm

I think him calling himself “privileged” says something… also so hypocritical to call for the defunding off police and then call on the police to guard him and his home. When he clearly embellished facts and changed his statement. Bob, Blumemthal, Lamont, etc.. all using the hatred and unrest in this country to manipulate and work it into their agenda, with no regard of the real cost to our citizens. Bob is self serving and is lining up his in politics and his own advancements and it’s very obvious.. I feel everything Bob Duff does and has done is all calculated and stepping stones to elevate his career. Which is typical of many government employees! Which they are, they are employees of the people and suppose to be fighting for us and all they want are our vote and will lie, cheat and steal to get them. Don’t be a sheep! Save the City, our State, OUR COUNTRY!! We the people!! It’s up to US!

Milbank September 5, 2020 at 8:26 pm

Said by Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik . . .

“[it] is clear

that the behavior of some was not acceptable as everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. I can appreciate that Sen Duff felt disrespected by some members of the department when he visited the union meeting that Friday.”

‘Nuff said.

Milbank September 5, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Oh yeah, one other obvious thing that has not been pointed out and should be. . .

Senator Duff came to the Union’s “home” to meet with them to discuss the issues as he cares about and for the NPD too. He has been a supporter of the NPD his whole career. If some of you kvetching about the bill would actually READ it, you’d see that it includes the appointment of a new inspector general who would be tasked with probing police use-of-force cases, periodic mental health screenings for officers, limits on circumstances on which deadly use of force is justified, and mandatory body cameras for all state and local officers. The bill also includes mandatory training for officers on implicit bias.” It’s really a win/win for the police officers and the public. A good, honest and ethical policeman, which is by far most of them, has nothing to fear.It may also possibly deter bad actors and possible future “bad apples” from joining the force.

Baby shark September 11, 2020 at 1:00 am

People really should stop criticizing the Norwalk Police Department. The record Impeccable Callahan the ashtray maker. And don’t forget my favorite daycare worker Detective Cummings he took care of the boys in the community so well..

Bryan Meek September 11, 2020 at 9:11 am

Real classy Baby Shark spitting on the grave of dead police officers. This is the kind of speech that is allowed on this site now, while facts are obliterated.

Baby shark September 11, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Sticking up for bad behavior Bryan? I grew up with Liam I know everything. I can go on. Once you stick up for Cummings while you’re at it. He was molesting boys and got away with it stick up for that you’re horrible.

Baby shark September 11, 2020 at 9:02 pm

At least the leaders of our police departments uphold the standards that the blue always have. Oh wait a minute big story in Bridgeport.

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