Norwalk NAACP head rebukes Williams for letter calling for fire chief’s resignation

NAACP President Darnell Crosland. (Archive photo.)
NAACP Norwalk Branch President Darnell Crosland. (Archive photo.)

NORWALK, Conn. – The president of the Norwalk chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a statement Wednesday night distancing the organization from a letter sent to the media by the organization’s first vice president and a former firefighter, Andre Williams, calling for the Norwalk fire chief’s resignation.

“The letter that was sent to the press by Andre Williams was not approved by the board in the regular course of business and did not express the views of the board or the member of the branch,”

wrote in the statement. “Mr. Williams’ actions are a serious breach of our Branch’s policies and a violation of the NAACP’s By-laws. … I will be seeking sanctions against Mr. Williams” that could result in his removal from office.

A letter released on the NAACP letterhead Monday by Williams accused Chief Denis McCarthy of racism and called for his ouster. Crosland said Tuesday the letter was not authorized, Williams disagreed and said it was discussed at an NAACP executive board meeting and was, in fact, authorized.

Crosland, an attorney and a Democratic candidate for probate judge, said at the time he had spoken about the matter with the state-wide president. “Only the president of the branch speaks. That’s just the rule,” he said.

Attached below is a copy of Crosland’s complete statement, a copy of Williams’ letter and a copy of McCarthy’s contract, which states he must be given 90 days’ notice before his contract expires if he is not going to be retained, or it automatically renews. His contract was up May 1, meaning it self-renewed for one year as of Jan. 31.

Darnell Crosland NAACP letter

Andre Williams letter

Chief McCarthy Contract




31 responses to “Norwalk NAACP head rebukes Williams for letter calling for fire chief’s resignation”

  1. RU4REAL

    I really don’t care what Crosland says he isn’t even from Norwalk, it sounds as if he is supporting a potential racist. If the allegations are true Crosland should be brought up on charges that he, as NAACP president helped a potential racist get away with it!
    Are the racism allegations true or not Darnel?

  2. RU4REAL

    In no way would anyone join an organization that would support racism, except a racist. Crosland has some explaining to do regarding why he would help stop the search for the truth.
    Was he promised something too?

  3. Anonymous

    Back to some previous questions:
    The mayor, Mr Williams, and now the NAACP, whose lying?
    And also, if previous chiefs did not recruit minorities, why is that the fault of McCarthy?
    And weren’t these allegations adressed in the past and dealt with?

  4. Anonymous

    The NAACP wants to fire Mr Williams and now they’re being called racist. Priceless!!!

  5. John Levin

    Crossland has handled this unfortunate situation well. The board of the NAACP local branch can deal with it. Move on.

  6. M. Murray’s

    Williams is a convicted felon who is on his own agenda because he got fired because of his crimes.

  7. piberman

    Surely time to move on to more important matters. Sometimes what’s “news” really isn’t news.
    No doubt embarrassing for the NAACP but they have important work to do. Let it be.

  8. The Deal

    Ahhh politics…….

  9. Anonymous

    The mayor, Mr Williams, and the NAACP should be held accountable just like they are demanding of the chief. Hopefully NON will continue to look into who said what and who lied otherwise it would seem like NON is out for the chief as well?

  10. Bill

    Convicted felon who is justly fired from his job gets a seat on the NAACP then proceeds to go after his old boss who fired him by playing the race card. Now this guy gets thrown under the bus by his own NAACP..this is getting good..pass the pop corn please.

  11. Suzanne

    Anonymous, yes, it is all one big conspiracy to bring the powers that be down! Really, do you think that? This whole thing sounds very personal: let the personalities involved solve the issues themselves, preferably out of the public eye. Enough already.

  12. Anonymous

    @Suzanne: The VP of the NAACP making racial accusations against the chief and saying there was a backdoor deal made with the mayor is a big story. Even bigger since he promised transparency. We deserve some answers.

  13. Suzanne

    Your assuming the Mayor did not provide transparency in this case. I think he has been very forthcoming about what occurred in his meeting with the NAACP and, specifically, what they talked about regarding recruitment efforts at the fire department. Really, now, where is the credibility gap here? The NAACP is ready to dismiss one of their own for false representation of their views. Mr. Williams made his own bed out of bitterness and, apparently, deceit. Let him lie in it. Let the NAACP work it out. He is their personnel problem. The Chief is the Mayor’s. I don’t think we need to know anymore. There is plenty of life left in Norwalk and other concerns.

  14. Anonymous

    Thanks Suzanne. I guess, based on your comments, that Mr. Williams has been discredited. I guess it’s fair to say then that we will stop reading about these racist claims that were dealt with years ago and move on. If NON would stop writing stories about it, we could stop commenting. Maybe, it’s NON that needs to let it go and move on as it was dealt with years ago.

  15. Even if the mayor wasn’t as transparent as Suzanne wants to believe; it doesn’t behoove Crossland’s position to go against him at this time.
    As for this being a ho hum drama article and it should correct itself within the NAACP – let’s hold on a minute…. If the shoe was on the other foot – there would be protests and marches with Al Sharpton leading the pack. No, Williams should be arrested for defamation and receive the same penalties if he was a white man calling out a black man. But that won’t happen… reverse discrimination at it’s best.

  16. LWitherspoon

    Mr. Williams says Candidate Rilling promised to dismiss Mssrs. McCarthy, Haselkamp, and Alvord if Rilling won the election. Mayor Rilling says that isn’t true. Clearly Mr. Williams believes that some promise was made, as he is now expressing anger that the alleged promise was not kept.
    On what basis have you concluded that Mayor Rilling is telling the truth and Mr. Williams isn’t?

  17. ScopeonNorwalk

    Exactly because we know the other two are definitely on the chopping block…everyone knows Mr. Williams is telling the truth. The approach may not have been that tactful but people get ugly when they put their neck on the line for you and you don’t keep your promise…this won’t be the last time Harry is publicly called out for not keeping a promise if he keeps going the way he is…he also made separate promises to support two organizations as a CAP agency when there can only be 1…and promised two people his support for DTC Chair…so I’m sure he also told the Fire Chief he would keep his job.

  18. Casey Smith

    I just took a quick look at the letter from Atty. Crosland and the one from Mr. Williams. It may just be the way Mr. Williams’ letter went through the scanning process, but there is a thin, broken line above the first sentence on each page that is not visible on Atty. Crosland’s letter. Now, I’ve had fold marks show up on scanned documents that were previously folded before, but usually they are much lower. Also, I noticed that the extreme left and right borders are missing on Mr. Williams’ letter.
    I’d be interested in hearing if those lines and narrowed borders are on the copy of the document NON received.
    My first thought was that the something was cut and pasted onto the a document, which could indicate that the NAACP letter head was trimmed and applied to the text block or the text block was pasted onto the letterhead. If either of those scenarios are true, then Mr. Williams was undoubtably acting on his own without the knowledge or permission of the rest of the Executive Board.
    I don’t know how Mr. Williams’ letter came to be. However, it looks suspicious to me.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Casey, Anonymous

      The line Casey refers to is on the copy we received. The crooked page Anonymous refers to is also what we received. We did not, and do not, tamper with any documents we are sent. We scan them, make sure the scan is accurate, and put them online. The entire purpose is to bring the actual document in full to the readers so they have all the documented information we can obtain and legally release. Readers are free then to make their own observations and decisions.

  19. Anonymous

    The last page of the letter is crooked. It appears it was cut and pasted. Wow, Mr Williams has some explaining to do…

  20. RU4REAL

    @Mark, has the chief denied the allegations yet?

    1. Mark Chapman


      Same question as yesterday. Same answer. We’ll let you and everyone else know.

  21. Casey Smith

    Thank you, Mark, for verifying the condition of the copy you received. l hope you know, I was in no way implying that you all altered the letter in any way. And Anonymous, I noticed the last page was crooked, also, but I’ve had that happen when a document is fed through a scanner. “Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice….”

    1. Mark Chapman

      @ Casey

      We understood where the question was coming from. Thank you for making sure, though..

  22. Suzanne

    L. Witherspoon, Because Mr. Williams is making claims that are not considered truthful by the very organization he is supposed to represent. Mayor Rilling was very forthcoming about what transpired in the meeting Mr. Williams claims promises were made and frankly it would seem foolhardy at best for a good or bad mayor to name names when it comes to hiring/firing personnel, especially department heads in this town. I would wonder if those kinds of intentions would even be considered legally divulged to anyone. Mr. Williams, on the other hand, has some sad history following him around. He has also persisted in misrepresenting other issues, like fire department recruiting efforts for African Americans. Whether you like him or dislike him, I haven’t read nor heard of any such factual misrepresentations made by Mayor Rilling.

  23. LWitherspoon

    The NAACP only stated that the letter was not authorized. There was no comment regarding the truthfulness of the letter’s content. Mr. Williams claims the letter was discussed and authorized at an NAACP board meeting. Hard for any of us to say what really happened without having been there.
    I agree with you that Mr. Williams’s past raises questions. On the other hand, if a criminal declares the sky blue and Mayor Rilling declares it brown, the sky is still blue. The Mayor is a politician and, shockingly, politicians don’t always tell the truth. If indeed Mayor Rilling made the promises as alleged by Mr. Williams, do you really think he would readily admit to having done so?
    Ultimately none of us knows which of these individuals is telling the truth. I am certain however that the allegations by Mr. Williams about Candidate Rilling’s promises are very serious, and merit further scrutiny. Kudos to NoN for bringing them to light.

  24. The Deal

    Wouldn’t you think if interviews/an investigation were conducted by an official committee with other aggrieved individuals and witnesses Mr. Williams says exists that the truth or lack of it would become clearer on many of these issues?

  25. Casey Smith

    @ Deal –

    I seem to remember that there were extensive meetings with the Human Relations Committee about this back in 2005 or 2006. I thought I could find a document about it at the City website, but it only goes to 2009. Maybe someone who has better research skills than I could check into it.

    The other issue to remember, though, is that part of this situation deals with personnel files, which are confidential. I would find it hard to believe that the City would look the other way if there was racism going on, particularly since Chief Anderson was Chief McCarthy’s immediate predecessor. It just doesn’t gel for me.

  26. Piberman

    The outpouring of comments concerning an unauthorized letter criticizing City officials by a former City employee now serving as Board member to a troubled organization is an interesting commentary on NON and the Norwalk community. Imagine if we had such attention focused on City budgets ? But finance is a hard subject. Glory be.

  27. Anonymous

    Wasn’t this dealt with years ago? Didn’t the dept go through diversity training? Do we continue to read about this until Mr Williams gets his agenda through? Investigate that phony letterhead if you want something new to read about.

  28. Anonymous

    Aside from the Fire Department could the NAACP take a look at the Police Department. They haven’t hired a black or Hispanic female in more than two decades. It is very unfortunate that Norwalk has racist people who won’t hide they don’t like you because of your race and to make matters worst they belittle them as well. Nancy Chapman they really need to take a look at the police, dispatch center, fire department.

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