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Jury finds Simms not guilty in 2012 incident

Norwalk 120414 653
Norwalk Common Councilman Travis Simms (D-District B) chats with a supporter Thursday night.

Update: This story was rewritten to add details and comments.

NORWALK, Conn. – A South Norwalk Councilman is off the hot seat – a jury declared him not guilty Thursday of the crimes he was accused of by the Norwalk Police department.

The testimony of three Norwalk Police officers was the only evidence against Councilman Travis Simms (D-District B), who was charged with Breach of Peace second degree and interfering with an officer.

Simms took the witness stand in his own defense, as did his wife and a man who said he didn’t know Simms. The jury took four to five hours to decide in Simms’ favor in the contest of credibility.

Simms decline to comment. His attorney, Michael Skiber, said he would release a statement.

“I can’t speculate on the jury’s deliberations, but respect their verdict in the case,” Chief Thomas Kulhawik said.

Mayor Harry Rilling said that, because he wasn’t at the trial, he hadn’t heard the evidence and didn’t know what the jury had considered in its deliberations. He said he still has confidence that the police department is highly trained.

“I’m not going to say there was a violation of policy or process because I don’t know, that’s something for the chief to review. I don’t want to second guess. It was Mr. Simms’ right to have a jury trial. A trial was had and the process was followed.”

Simms’ sister, Sephylia Paulk is still facing charges in a related case. Police arrested her that night in what they say was a big fight at Townhouse Gardens on Monroe and Madison Streets. Simms and his wife were arrested within an hour of Paulk’s arrest; they say they went to the location to check on her, and were confronted by Wargo, with the words “What the f— are you doing here? Get the f— out.”

Simms, Stokes and the third person who testified, Michael Brown of Stratford, said Wargo punched Stokes in the stomach. Police deny this, and no complaint was filed by Stokes.

Simms was Tased after officers forced him to the ground, all witnesses agreed. Skiber referred to being Tased as like having fishhooks in his back.

 

Original story:

NORWALK, Conn. – Common Council Minority Leader Travis Simms (D-District B) was found not guilty Thursday of charges of breach of peace and interfering with a police officer.

The jury, which began deliberations Wednesday, returned the verdict around noon.

The charges stemmed from an incident in 2012.

 

Comments

22 responses to “Jury finds Simms not guilty in 2012 incident”

  1. Being Honest…

    The Judicial System has spoken.

    Case Closed.

  2. Tim D

    Along the lines of what Johnny Cochrane once said – “if the (boxing) gloves don’t fit, you must acquit”

    1. Mr $imms would gain more by not suing the City of Norwalk now (As if that would really happen).
    2. Chief Kulhawik ought to be proactive when addressing the clear as day overly aggressive police tactics during this ultra sensitive time. These guys are not nice people.

  3. Donald Trump

    Simms might be innocent, but let’s see if any police show up to the next block fight. They’d be stupid if they did.

    You can also thank a stupid prosecutor, judge, and jury for this crystal clear message that it is ok to resist arrest simply if you and a few derelict witnesses think you are helping calm down a riot.

    You’re fired.

  4. Stephanie

    I hope that this was a fair trial and wasn’t influenced by what’s going on nationally.

  5. mollyB

    Come on, Stephanie.

    Councilman Simms is NOT GUILTY.

  6. mollyB

    Great Reporting….when I saw the officers Facebook picture and that colorful name Warcrimes0331- I was shocked. Why is the city paying this guy aka regulator?

  7. LWitherspoon

    The officer’s Facebook picture and comments are deeply disturbing.

    Is it correct that the jury relied mostly on accounts from the self-interested parties who were present? Had the officers present all been wearing body cameras, there would likely be audio and video, a much better basis for deciding who is telling the truth.

    @Donald Trump
    The jury found Simms “not guilty”. There is a big difference between “not guilty” and “innocent”.

  8. John Hamlin

    We should equip all Norwalk police with body cams so we can record interactions between the public and police. It would probably save a lot in court costs alone.

  9. Oldtimer

    Body cameras are coming, they will be expensive, and controlling when they are turned on, or off, will be a problem. To be truly valuable, they should be turned on at the start of a work shift and left on until the end of the tour, including tours that stretch to 12 or 16 hours. Only a supervisor at hqs should have the ability to turn them off and extract whatever has been recorded. There is some question if Dash cameras in the cars shouldn’t also be required, but the people who want the police held more accountable will not like the expense.
    Police officers have managed for a long time without recording every move, every word. Reliance on a cell phone video can easily lead to wrong conclusions if the camera, recording is only turned on after a problem develops. Officers went to arrest Garner and he told them not this time, indicating he had no intention of being arrested. It was not his decision to make, and the officers proceeded to take him into custody with what they thought was reasonable force to overcome his resistance. Bystander video only started after Garner had committed to resistance and was overcome by several officers.
    Simms, as a successful boxer, could be dangerous, the officers may have over-reacted based on fear, or respect for, Simms proven ability. It is hard to understand why Simms and his group didn’t just get in their car and leave, as requested by the police. The jury heard the whole story, both sides, and decided the State had failed to prove the charges. As somebody has already said, not guilty does not mean completely innocent.

  10. piberman

    Well so far we have citizens complaining about the verdict for Councilman Simms. And NAACP President Attorney Crossland is publicly wondering about whether the Norwalk police will shoot civilans. And Mayor Rilling holding a meeting to address Mr. Crossland’s concerns. With the Police Chief participanting as well. All this in Norwalk where an admired former Police Chief was elected Mayor. What is Norwalk coming to ? Is anyone holding a meeting to address drug and gang related crime ?
    Nah. That’s too mundane. Is anyone holding a meeting addressing the public discrimination charges against the entire BOE and Supt. by 3 Democratic BOE members ? Nah. Looks like the re-election campaign is in full swing. Norwalk is gearing up to prevent its police from shooting civilians. So far only Mr. Crossland has publicly stated his concern. Should the rest of us be concerned too ? Or should we be concerned about criminals, drugs and gangs ? It is complicated living in Norwalk.

  11. WOW just WOW

    The officers involved should be fired . They assaulted and taserd Mr Simms who was found guilty of committing NO crime.

    Body cameras will be useless if the cop decides when to turn them on and off. If they are assaulting a citizen I really don’t think the body cameras will be on.

    The NPD is in desperate need of a civilian review board. Also it pretty clear the wrong ones are being hired at the NPD.

  12. srb1228

    Don’t know what happened in this case but it could be an example of jury nullification. If Wargo did come in spitting out all those epithets (even if the other side was it doesn’t make it excusable…that’s what you learn in Kindergarten). On the bright side it doesn’t appear he’s a racist since the lacrosse coach beaten up a couple of years ago was white. A cop who goes by the name of Warcrimes should be reassessed if for nothing else, poor judgment. I know being a cop is a tough job and things can wear on you. If you are one of those officers who’ve become jaded and cynical by the job it’s time to retire and find something that you can feel good about. Not to many jobs can you retire in your 40s with full medical and a pension but maybe the stress is why

  13. Marie Avila

    Having been acquainted with the family, I believe Simms was guilty. His sister too. She’s nothing but a trouble-maker. I’m sure everyone involved is gonna play the race card. They have a history of it.

  14. Being Honest…

    Maria, that may be so – but again, the judicial system has spoken. It’s a closed case and we move on with our lives.

  15. oldtimer

    It’s over. The cops did what they thought they needed to do and Simms was charged with several misdemeanor crimes. The jury heard both sides and determined that the State failed to prove those charges.
    Some will always believe he was guilty, others will believe the arrest was not justified and the police over-reacted. There is no way to get total agreement on what should have been done that night. It’s over.

  16. Norewalk Lifer

    Looks like there is some pretty harsh words leveled at the Simms family here, I find that amusing, I am related to the Simms thru marriage, the comment about “trouble making” couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer, oh and a relative

  17. Scott

    “The court has spoken end of story”. It would be nice if this sentiment were applied to the cases getting national attention. It’s interesting how people feel when the decision goes the other way.

  18. Norewalk Lifer

    @scott, when there is a video tape of what happened, of course the story is different, who are you to believe? words or your own lying eyes?

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  19. Scott

    I saw a video of a person of large stature resisting arrest and a small officer going for a bit of a ride trying to help several fellow officers take him into custody. The tragic outcome was unfortunate and one in a possibly a million. There appeared no malicious intent. Just an officer trying to do his job. I’m sure he wishes everyday that it had ended differently. And not because of people like you that want to villify him but because of the tragic loss of life that he could in no way have foreseen.

  20. Norewalk Lifer

    Dear Scott:

    Tragic loss of life? inadvertent? what’s that called involuntary manslaughter? sooo, that’s what you describe, if I listen to you.

    People like me? you mean the ones who believe in the rule of law, not the rule of man?

    yeah, people like me.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  21. Scott

    The rule of law is all that we have between us and the anarchy that is your “rule of man” which has shown its true face with the rioting and looting that has unfortunately accompanied the recent demonstrations. It’s like the yellow line down the middle of the road – it’s not perfect but it’s all that keeps us safe from certain death. It requires a lot of faith.

  22. Norewalk Lifer

    @ Scott, free speech is also a right, and while I do not condone the violence, no one does, that is decent, I do understand why people would be driven to it.

    Just like those in Nevada, aiming at federal agents with high powered weapons over grazing rights.

    Let’s be complete in our observations.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

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