Updated, 5:18 p.m., comment from Vinny Mangiacopra.
NORWALK, Conn. – Two Democratic mayoral candidates are calling for the resignation of Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Amanda Brown, but two others said a rush to judgment is not in order.
While Common Councilman Matt Miklave (D-District A) and former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel released statements Wednesday afternoon calling for Brown’s resignation in the wake of her involvement in a physical altercation at City Hall, former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said it’s up to the NDTC to review the matter and make a decision. District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra said in Wednesday evening statement that it would be irresponsible to judge, and that he hoped Brown and the Krummels would work it out.
Democratic District E Chairman Bill Krummel, 84, suffered a black eye Monday night in the confrontation with Brown. His wife, Regina Krummel, said she had a gash on her elbow. Although Brown declined to comment on the altercation Tuesday, on Wednesday she released a statement that gave a very different account of the confrontation than that relayed by the Krummels.
Norwalk Police were called by a witness, but no arrests were made.
“The parties involved did not wish to have charges pressed,” Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said in an email. “The supervisor that reviewed the case determined that, based upon that fact that the parties refused to press charges, discretion was used and no charges were filed. If the victim/complainant in an incident do not wish to pursue charges it is fruitless to make an arrest which will not be prosecuted.”
Miklave’s statement was short and to the point.
“I am very distressed to have heard about the physical altercation involving the DTC Chair and a DTC Member,” he wrote. “I have spent my entire career in pursuit of integrity, honesty and civility.”
Miklave is a member in the law firm Epstein Becker Green, whose work drew a unanimous ruling from the United States Supreme Court in a civil rights case, according to his website.
He continued, “Ms. Brown appears to have broken the law and her actions simply cannot be condoned. As a lawyer and an officer of the Court, I cannot in good conscious stay silent. Whatever caused this parking lot brawl cannot justify a physical assault on one of our seniors. I call on Ms. Brown to resign as DTC Chair effective immediately.”
Garfunkel, the 2011 Democratic mayoral candidate, expressed similar feelings.
“The incident that occurred outside City Hall earlier this week is an embarrassment to the City of Norwalk and to the Democratic Party,” he wrote. “One of the challenges Norwalk faces is an escalating violence, especially among our young people. This kind of behavior sends the wrong message. We’re supposed to be role models for our youth.”
Garfunkel continued, “As a member of the DTC, I can’t condone this behavior. There is no justification for resorting to physical violence, and definitely no excuse for assaulting two seniors. Ms. Brown must resign immediately, so that we can collectively move forward and address the challenges facing Norwalk, with credibility and unity.”
Rilling was at the District E meeting that followed the altercation.
“I arrived at the meeting after everything was over. Business was conducted as usual,” Rilling said. “ I had no knowledge that anything had taken place until I saw Bill’s eye. … I don’t know all the details of what happened so I can’t make any judgment call.”
Rilling referred to his 41 years on the Norwalk Police department and said his training kept him from making a “rush to judgment.”
“This is a matter for the Democratic Town Committee to look into and address in the appropriate fashion,” he said. “It’s a very, very unfortunate incident and I am sure the people involved regret what happened.”
Mangiacopra was last to issue an opinion.
“At this point, we still do not have all the facts about the incident and it would be irresponsible to cast judgement on the situation and jump to conclusions,” he wrote. “Within the next week, I hope that the two parties involved can come together to resolve this in a civil, cooperative manner so that we can go back to focusing on the positive goals our party is working towards.”
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