NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democrats met early Sunday to stand behind and around three community leaders who say they want to forgive each other, be forgiven and move on.
“Today we want to articulate in public what Bill and I have said to Amanda in our living room,” Regina Krummel said. “We want the Norwalk community to understand that we have forgiven each other for what happened last week. We regret this unfortunate incident and its impact on so many people here who know us and people who care about us. As far as we are concerned – Bill, Amanda and I – this short lived saga is over.”
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Regina Krummel, her husband Bill Krummel and Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Amanda Brown were involved in a physical altercation on July 1 in the Norwalk City Hall parking lot. Norwalk Police were called, but no arrests were made. Bill Krummel, District E chairman, freely admitted to the press the next day that he had slapped Brown after his wife had landed on the pavement in what he described as a pushing match with Brown. The next day, Brown corroborated part of what Bill Krummel had said, that she punched him in the face, resulting in a black eye.
She also said that he had made racial comments.
With the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee convention less than two weeks away, Democratic mayoral candidates Andy Garfunkel and Matt Miklave called upon Brown to resign. Democratic mayoral candidates Harry Rilling and Vinny Mangiacopra cautioned against a rush to judgement.
The three have done painstaking and courageous work, the Rev. Bruce Morris said in a press conference that ended with many of its participants standing hand-in-hand as Morris led a prayer, in front of the entrance to City Hall.
Brown took the lectern after Regina Krummel.
“As you all know, this has been a very difficult week so there is no better way to start a brand new week than with Regina, Bill and I coming together in the very parking lot that caused our city so much pain to reconcile with one another in public,” she said. “… I’m not here to rehash and relive any of the details that took place in this parking lot, I’m here to say I deeply regret my involvement in this incident and the effects that played out in the city of Norwalk.
I acted in a way that is contrary to the ideals and aspirations that I strive to live by every day. For that I apologize to God, for not showing that unfailing love under adversity that I have been taught. I apologize to the Norwalk community, I apologize to the Krummels and my local church members.”
Bill Krummel did not speak.
“My wife is eloquent, far more than I am,” he said after the press conference. “We’re together, my wife and I. When one of us speaks that is for the both of us.”
His eye is “OK,” he said.
“That’s why I am wearing dark glasses,” he said.
All three said they wanted to concentrate on the civic work that had brought them together in the first place.
“Together, Bill and I have more than a century’s worth of civic involvement and political engagement,” Regina Krummel said. “We have worked long and we have worked hard to make Norwalk a better place for every single resident and certainly for our families. We will proudly continue doing that work alongside Amanda Brown and all the citizens who share deep and abiding love for Norwalk, and believe passionately in its future.”
She added, “We really mean it.”
Brown said she was “not impervious to weakness or mistakes” in any of her roles, as a mother, grandmother or civic leader.
“I am only human,” she said. “… Our emotions did get the best of us but it is our shared desire that we refocus our attention to the things that matter most to the city of Norwalk.”
Morris followed them both by saying the incident was not indicative of the character or leadership of anyone involved.
“They are human beings with the same frailties and foibles that we all have,” he said. “I would hope that everyone would recognize that what you just saw today and you just witnessed, it was authentic, it was not staged. It’s a matter of the hard work that we all need to do in order that we may have more people that are willing to serve publicly without the threat of understanding that if you make one mistake people will discard you. They will forget about the skill, the talent, the abilities that you so willingly give to this community for the good of our city, for the good of our children, for the good of all people.”
Rilling, Mangiacopra and Garfunkel attended the press conference. None of them spoke.
Larry Johnson, a South Norwalk activist, also attended.
“Whenever we put our personal interests in front of the people we are trying to help or the community we are trying to help,” he said, “we always will end up hurting someone.”