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Kousidis to Duff: Apologize

Republican District 25 State Senate hopeful Elisavet “Ellie” Kousidis left; incumbent State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) right. Both photos were taken during April virtual meetings.

The 2020 election is scheduled for Nov. 3.

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, Sept. 8 at the ho,me of State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25).

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.

Kousidis continued:

“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.

25 comments

M Murray September 22, 2020 at 7:22 am

So the story seems to be a little different this time. Now it’s a white pick-up twice a day for two weeks. Before there were no details on the truck. And before it slowed down to yell at them. Most people would have tried to get a license plate. Since he made Chief kulhawki aware of it theirs must be a police report dating back to within those two weeks. Since it was so frequent, did he get a description of the driver? Cell phone photo of the truck? Has he looked at video of the police parking lot to see if he could identify the truck, it stopped after 2.weeks? When the Capitol Police “contacted him” did he let them know that it happened for the first two weeks and hasn’t happened again. They didn’t appear until at least a month after the truck stopped coming. Did he tell them it wasn’t necessary for police protection since the truck stopped coming for over a month? He said “the press contacted him” after he sent O’Connor the letter. So the union told the press? Would they do that to make themselves look bad? Or did they know the video evidence proved Duff was lying? Or did Duff have someone contact the press so he could create this drama without having to call the press himself. When the press called, did he have to comment? I guess not since he is not responding to the press asking for comments now.

Bryan Meek September 22, 2020 at 7:34 am

Bob needs election time distractions to get people to look away from his failed record as a lawmaker.

Just before Bob went to the statehouse 18 years ago to stand up for us, Norwalk’s local budget received over 10% of its funding from state level grants about $20 million on a $195 million budget.

Last year we received about $26 million to help out with our $385 million budget. Under 7% and shrinking fast.

al September 22, 2020 at 8:50 am

“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.”

As much as I can’t stand Duff either, doesn’t sound that genuine coming from a candidate who is anti-vaccination

Bob Giolitto September 22, 2020 at 9:07 am

Interesting that Ms. Kousidis says: “What concerns me most of all is the selfish use of [Duff’s] platform to elevate his own voice above all others.” On Friday September 4th, Ms Kousidis, along with Norwalk Republican Chair Carl Dickens, visited the Norwalk Police Department. At this visit Ms. Kousidis handed out campaign literature and there are photos of her at the meeting promoting her campaign. Were this a police union meeting, this would have been fine–but it wasn’t. Such actions are clearly in violation of the city’s code of ethics.
Ms. Kousidis’s actions of September 4th begs three questions: 1. Did she know she was in violation of the code? 2. If she didn’t know do we want a state senator that doesn’t know the code? 3. If Ms. Kousidis did know the code then why did she deliberately flout it?

I want to be clear that I am not speaking against the police union. They have every right, and should be free to exercise that right, to endorse particular candidates. I am also not speaking against, or accusing of any wrong, the police department. The Republicans’, including Ms. Kousidis, statement in Nancy On Norwalk on September 6 said: “Candidate Kousidis and other Republicans wanted to show that while we recognize that some reform is needed that the majority of Police officers are hard working. They are honest, and they put their lives on the line daily to serve and protect.” Well and good. But the statement of purpose for visiting the police department says nothing about politically campaigning during the visit. The police, and the public, were mislead.

Apology Ms. Kousidis?

Seems Perone’s major contribution is missing meetings. Hmmmm, I find that quite odd - and disengaging as well. September 22, 2020 at 9:35 am

Ellie is exactly right. But Bob Duff, as opposed to his signature slogan of “standing up”, as always thinks primarily of himself – first, last and always. When – if ever- will voters wake up to this behavior?

Ex-norwalker September 22, 2020 at 9:47 am

She is absolutely right! Bob Duff owes the police department an apology and all his constituents. He lied about this situation and was caught.

milbank September 22, 2020 at 10:16 am

What else would she say? “Exaggerate”? The video showed exactly what Duff said. Just cheap grandstanding by Kousidis because she doesn’t have anything else to throw at him. Anyway, that bill is statewide and anyone who has actually read it knows it’s not “against” the police. It actually protects the good ones of which they overwhelmingly are, and weeds out the “bad apples” and potential “bad apples” trying to join. It helps protect taxpayers from having to pay out massive compensation to victims of the “bad apples.” The police unions are pissed because they don’t like ANY oversight. To remind taxpayers of the obvious, police unions are there to protect the bad as well as the good ones. Unions are not there to protect the people in any way from “the “bad apple.” That’s what that bill does.

David Muccigrosso September 22, 2020 at 10:36 am

This is high comedy.

Duff is no genius, and may have exaggerated *something* – although, NPD did a bang-up job for non-media types in selectively editing that video.

But Kousidis is just trolling at this point. Wonderful pander to her base. I wish her good luck in getting it to turn out enough of her voters to maybe actually win for once. But it’s hard to take anyone’s sense of moral perspective seriously when they put an R next to their name.

Just because Duff and Rilling are a bunch of unprogressive, bumbling, ward-healing, small-time-grifting morons, doesn’t mean the answer is the party that sold its soul to white nationalism.

Norwalk deserves better than this. We should embrace alternative elections like Ranked Choice or Approval Voting that give us more options than these clowns.

John ONeill September 22, 2020 at 3:26 pm

@David: You are growing on me. We don’t agree on much (I’m not a Trumpette, but solidly R if that’s ok with you), but your comments are thought provoking… Harry Rilling gets an A in my book for many policies surrounding policing that have made Norwalk a better place. Duff has tried to undo that for reasons that escape me and most others.
I agree that Norwalk deserves better. It will take young people like yourself and others to make that happen. From BOTH sides of the debate. Everyone seems to want diversity except when it comes to their political leanings ( AND those living in 2+acre zoning in wealthy surrounding towns. Both Rs and Ds by the way) People need to start listening and stop babbling.
Regarding pandering. If a politician was insulted by that accusation we wouldn’t have politicians!! Maybe we should outlaw pandering and see what happens.

Curious Voter September 22, 2020 at 4:09 pm

I’m hoping you were misquoted since you seem like a nice person Ms. Kousidis. Do you believe Mr. Duff is a horrible human being? Do you support Donald Trump for reelection?

M Murray September 22, 2020 at 4:19 pm

@milbank “the video showed exactly what Duff said”????? Did you watch it? I don’t think you can count 30 officers in the entire video, much less 30 trying to surround his car and block him from leaving. Unless he was going to drive his car on the sidewalk, they were nowhere in his path. And “spit at him”??? Unless he was an ant lying on the ground directly underneath the officer, no one spit at him. The officer was about 10 feet away and had his face painting directly at the ground when he made the spitting gesture. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that no one “spit at him”

Tysen Canevari September 22, 2020 at 5:38 pm

I would love for Ms Kousidis to explain her position on issues and what she plans to do if elected. You can bash someone all you want, but what will you do if elected? Handing out macaroni and signs at the police station doesnt qualify honey.

Ron Morris September 22, 2020 at 6:41 pm

Curious Voter
Don’t expect an answer from Ms. Kousidis as I asked the same question of her and got crickets . Yes other Republicans did reply with sarcastic comments but nothing from the candidate. i think that says it all.

Concerned Taxpayer September 22, 2020 at 10:46 pm

It would be helpful to know how candidates address challenging issues such as who they will be endorsing for president, and how our local candidates feel about the controversial pending Supreme Court appointment?

It’s also confusing, do police typically make endorsements or is this one unusual?

Bryan Meek September 22, 2020 at 11:20 pm

@Bob G. Since you are versed in the code, please tell us exactly which one it is. Is it the same one that allows Duff to read books at NPS facilities or other photo ops? Pray tell.

David Muccigrosso September 23, 2020 at 8:27 am

@John, no offense, but that’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard you say yet! 😉 You’re probably picking up on my Republican upbringing, but make no mistake, I’m closer to the Radical Republicans of yore than anything that party offers today.

I’m not a fan of Rilling because it became obvious after my first six months here that something fishy was up with the permitting process in SoNo. Some businesses get “a pass” and open within weeks, while others have left “coming soon” signs up for almost 2 years now. The issues with Walk Bridge, the mall, and the East Norwalk TOD plans made it clear that he’s not building smart, he’s just building bougie and trying to let gentrification do the hard work of building a vibrant community for him. It’s clear we have an affordable housing crisis in Norwalk, but it’s not going to be solved by building expensive apartments for commuters that actually INCREASE the area’s average rents. It’s also not going to be solved by a handful of handouts. And it’s certainly not going to be solved by the Norwalk NAACP showing up at every other town meeting to protest some moron’s emails.

For the record, I voted for Lisa because despite her rough edges, she came across as a progressive-enough Republican that I could make common cause. It’s unfortunate that rich “2-acre” suburbanites are dominating the party’s messaging right now with exclusionary thinking, because most Democratic instincts on housing are rather short-sighted, and the GOP’s classical deregulatory inclination is what’s needed to combat exclusionary zoning, if only they’d recognize the issue as such.

I’m well aware that SoNo was “cleaned up”, and while I sympathize with the urge to conclude that it was because of increased policing, I think it has more to do with the buildings that were renovated to create a gentrifying base than anything else (Ironworks, SoNo Pearl, etc.). Policing alone doesn’t clean up bad neighborhoods; otherwise, for all the money we’ve spent on it in the last 50 years, we’d have cleaned up every neighborhood in the country by now. Bad neighborhoods are made by lack of investment. When you invest and build, the policing just kind of naturally follows.

Duff strikes me as someone who *thinks* he has Kamala Harris’s skill with wielding the Twitter mobs, but doesn’t. And I do think the NPD are less problematic than most police agencies – most I’ve met have had a “this is just a job” attitude. But that doesn’t absolve NPD of selectively editing video, nor of harboring a dangerous culture of siege mentality, nor does it mean the state bill isn’t ultimately a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, we as a society have to stop treating these sorts of laws as if they’re the endpoint. Law should be iterative and piecemeal, not comprehensive and final. Fix what’s broken, then fix what that breaks. Tear it all down from time to time. Don’t force yourself to get it all right in one go; that’s a fool’s errand.

DrewT September 23, 2020 at 9:35 am

Ellie is NOT let me repeat NOT Anti Vaccines! What she firmly believes is that parents based on conversations with their medical professionals are the ones who should be making the decisions for their children and not the State. Tell me this how many of you are going to rush and take the Corona Vaccine ones its released?? I know a large number of people because of their views of the President won’t take it. So, should the State mandate it?!?!! Further, Ellie has many videos on her website explaining her positions on various topics that people have asked about. I urge you all to go an check them out. I urge you to reach out to her if you have specific questions. She will gladly speak with you. And as for her many, many, many signs Tysen…Hmmmm there must be something happening in Norwalk and the change is coming. Bob Duff’s lies about the police amongst other things is the last nail in his coffin. His time is up and has been for sometime. And for those that can’t handle the fact a strong, many award winning educator, mom, business owner female has an R next tot their name fear not…She and many others have been Endorsed by the Independent Party and will appear on their line as well…So please feel free to vote for Ellie and let’s start repairing our City and State by having representation that truly has our best interests in mind.

Tysen Canevari September 23, 2020 at 4:18 pm

DrewT. You must be her manager. When will she say something useful other than Bob Duff is evil? People want to know what she will do. Its up to us the voters to decide who is evil. Did she buy that macaroni she handed out at police station or did she make it? Lol

Curious Voter September 23, 2020 at 9:59 pm

@Victor Cavallo. Please don’t deflect it’s getting old after nearly 4 years. I have questions for Ms. Kousidis since she is running for elected office. I’ll try again.
I’m hoping you were misquoted since you seem like a nice person Ms. Kousidis. Do you believe Mr. Duff is a horrible human being? Do you support Donald Trump for reelection? I’ve also heard different things on whether you’re against or for vaccinations?
Please clear up any misinformation.

Selective Sources... October 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm

@Victor Cavallo Good try but you’re being EXTREMLY selective with the sources you use to back up your argument! You’re not actually showing the Norwalk protests themselves which Nancy On Norwalk actually published videos about in which the Chief of Police has a conversation with activists! (Source: https://youtu.be/4jiAe84XpHI ). Also, I believe you are quick to assume that all BLM protests are evil because you saw one Daily Mail video. Did you know that 93% of BLM protests are non-violent? Or are you going to turn down that fact? (Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/time.com/5886348/report-peaceful-protests/%3famp=true )

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