NORWALK, Conn. — State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) should apologize for “exaggerating” the July 24 situation with Norwalk Police, his Republican opponent in the fall election said.
Elisavet “Ellie” Kousidis released the statement in response to police headquarters security camera footage being made available to the public, after a Freedom of Information request from NancyOnNorwalk.
The footage “shows that Bob Duff greatly exaggerated a situation, attacking and fueling mistrust of local police officers. The video tells a much different story than what Bob Duff ran to the press with. He owes every officer an apology as well as the public an apology for distracting from real issues in our community and using his platform to elevate his own voice over others,” said Kousidis.
Duff did not reply to an email giving him the chance to respond.
He has said that a reporter contacted him after he sent Lt. David O’Connor a letter in early September, accusing police union members of “rude, abusive and outright unprofessional” behavior when he went to headquarters to discuss the police accountability bill.
After Hearst Connecticut broke the news, Duff publicized his accusations on social media.
“If Bob Duff truly felt threatened by what allegedly happened, why did it take him six weeks to make the incident known?” Kousidis asked. “And why did he go to the press with the story and not to Capitol Police first?”
A Capitol Police cruiser has recently been parked in Duff’s driveway.
“After seeing the recent press involving Senator Bob Duff, the State Capitol Police Department offered certain extra patrols and safety to Senator Duff’s home,” a Capital Police press statement said. “This measure was taken as a precautionary step to aide in safety and protection. This patrol is not the result of any specific threat or incident and there is no reason for concern on behalf of the neighborhood or community. State Capitol Police, and all police departments, are committed to providing assistance and a safe community.”
Duff has said that a white pickup truck drove past his house twice a day for two weeks after the bill passed, yelling at his house with his wife and children at home. Duff on Sept. 6 said that he told Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik about the incident right away and it’s public due to his response to the August communication from O’Connor.
Kousidis said, “What concerns me most of all is the selfish use of his platform to elevate his own voice above all others. We have real problems in our community, not the least of which includes the mental and emotional health of our children in the middle of a pandemic and the safety of all people. Instead of using his platform as a lawmaker and legislative leader to focus on real issues and solutions, Bob Duff used his power to exaggerate a situation and weaken public confidence in all those who risk their lives every day to protect us all.”
The Norwalk Police union has taken the highly unusual step of endorsing Kousidis, a Stamford Public Schools media specialist/technology according to a LinkedIn page, for election.
“After accepting their generous endorsement for his nearly two decades in office, Bob Duff turned his back on public safety and police officers when he co-authored for and voted in favor of a bill that puts their lives and the lives of the people they protect at risk. But that wasn’t enough. When faced with criticism over that vote by our community, he had to attempt to discredit our local officers. That’s not leadership. He is more focused on keeping his name in the press, engaging every local paper and blogger in an exaggerated story he insensitively dubbed his own ‘terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.’”
“Instead of elevating voices other than his own, Bob Duff used his platform to complain, six weeks later, about a showing of disappointment by a police force he turned his back on. This is incredibly disappointing behavior to see from an elected official.”
Correction 4:26 p.m.: Kousidis is a media specialist.