NPD’s behavior opposite of what we had hoped

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This is an open letter to Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik.

This letter is in response to the recent interaction between some of the members from the Norwalk Police Department and State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. According to a report by CTPost dated September 2, 2020, over 30 police officers approached Senator Duff in July in a brazen act of harassment and intimidation regarding the recent passage of the Police Accountability Bill, which addresses oversight of law enforcement.

If the actions by the Norwalk Police Department are true — and we have no reason to believe that they are not — then we are appalled and outraged that such behavior is being exhibited by our professional men and women in blue. Additionally, if police officers are now rallying together to stand against the very impetus of accountability in which the law addresses, then we are moving backwards. And this is unacceptable.

Back in June when we crafted our response to the national unrest overtaking the country due to unresolved police brutality, we were quite clear that the Norwalk Police Department must implement plans that demonstrate their courage and willingness to stand in solidarity with all who support our efforts in seeing comprehensive change throughout the City. We see such actions as described by Senator Duff as the exact opposite of what we had hoped would emerge from our conference with you and Mayor Rilling a little over two months ago.

Additionally, last month, you requested support from us and other organizations in the City toward your department’s application to participate in the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program. The IMF readily provided you with a strong letter of support because we envisioned a partnership that would work toward change in a comprehensive, bipartisan manner aimed at cooperative integrity. Have we been misled in our approach?

Senator Duff’s letter to Sgt. O’Connor stated: “… .if that happened to someone like me – a privileged, middle aged white man, an elected official, the Senate Majority Leader – what happens every day, when no one is looking and cameras aren’t turned on, to others in our community who don’t have the background or platform that I occupy?”  It’s a good question and Senator Duff is right. This is about all of us.

The accosting of Senator Duff is not only an affront to good order and discipline, but is diametrically opposed  to all of the good work that he, the IMF, and others are doing to ensure that our City does not become a  bastion  of disrespect for human rights by those entrusted to  maintain  law and order. As such, we propose a follow-up meeting with you, Mayor Rilling and the IMF to address the following:

  • Progress of the Internal Affairs investigation into the behavior of the Norwalk policemen who engaged in the aforementioned act and any pending measures of accountability or discipline.
  • Status of the Racial Equity Task Force aimed at reviewing police procedures, to include timetables of expected completion of action items and outcomes.
  • An update on the department’s application for the ABLE program as well as the Police Review Board.

Please let me know a convenient day and time for our follow up meeting.


The Rev. Richard W. Clarke, D.D.

President, Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship of Norwalk & Vicinity


17 responses to “NPD’s behavior opposite of what we had hoped”

  1. John ONeill

    When I read the two letters “IF” in the above followed by the phrase “we have reason to believe they are not” I cringe..I feel like I’m listening to a commentator on cable television. Mistruth cloaked in accusation is what I read.
    I would like to congratulate Bob Duff for circling the wagons of his supporters this week. However, he should be reminded a famous General also did that in South Dakota and that didn’t turn out too well.
    I’m guessing the next letter to Mayor will come from Jim Himes (who by the way endorsed a corrupt convicted felon for mayor of Bridgeport not too long ago – that hasn’t turned out very well)
    I’m also guessing the release of tape will not sway supporters or detractors from their current positions. I don’t think Duff thought that far ahead, but that was a good strategy.
    Racism disgusts me…
    What also disgusts me is political opportunists (much like reconstruction carpet baggers ) who take advantage of open wounds for their own political gain. That is what an unbiased person would see in the incident being discussed. It is pathetic and inflamatory.
    To use the cable phrase from above: IF Bob Duff misrepresented the facts, and from what I hear I have no reason to believe otherwise, he should resign.

  2. M Murray

    “We have no reason to believe they are not”???? Did not anyone read Harold Tobin’s account of the video. Duff was not spit at. Period. He lied. Or at the very least gave a misleading account. He was looked at, looked down, and a spittting GESTURE was made. It appeared no expectorant was discharged. Does that show displeasure and sustain for a politician. Sure. Part of his job. Would you support protestors who did the same towards police officers? Do you support protestors who stand in groups who look at politicians? Police officers? Gather around businesses with whom they disagree? Please show consistency here. Were any threats, vulgarities spoken to Duff or did he overhear people talking about him? Let’s talk facts here and not perceptions. Enough is enough. He is a politician. He was there for political purposes, not as a citizen with a police related issue. He was selling his flawed legislation as a politician and the constituency responded, and he cried wolf. He did the same thing when his constituents disagreed with him in a meeting regarding forced stabbing with a needle. Stop creating drama where none exists. If he was truly spit at, this would be a different matter. If someone tried to project bodily fluid at him, I could understand outrage. If they truly surrounded his car or blocked his path, he would have a right to complain. If the got in the roadway and prevented him from free travel, yes. If they threw bottles at him, bricks, burned his business, absolutely. But all this because they don’t like him and he didn’t like the way they looked at him or what he overheard them say to each other about him is getting ridiculous.

  3. Mitch Adis

    The Catholic Church moved bad Priests around to cover up. Where is the accountability for Priests? Before you judge make sure your house is in order.

  4. Non Partisan


    Very well said

    Racism disgusts me too. jumping to conclusions without all the facts as so many People do these days is the height of arrogance and stupidity.

    I guess most people want to hear stories that support their views and aren’t open to real dialogue.

  5. steve

    In response to the first commenter- Reconstruction carpetbaggers was the pejorative term by Confederates to describe northerners who went South after the Civil War and helped support the newly freed African-American slaves by developing schools and other organizations under the guise of the Freedman’s Bureau (passed despite President Johnson’s veto). Despite harassment and in some cases physical violence they continued to do what they could until Reconstruction ended and Jim Crow laws came into existence. President Woodrow Wilson, a virulent racist (https://www.history.com/news/woodrow-wilson-racial-segregation-jim-crow-ku-klux-klan) supported the view of do gooders northerners as “carpet baggers”. If Duff should resign if he overstated what happened, what should happen to the police officers if he didn’t? Norwalk’s finest do some great work- the article today in The Hour https://www.thehour.com/news/article/Norwalk-police-setting-up-perimeter-at-Creeping-15560943.php, wherein NPD was able to stave off a “suicide by cop” is evidence of the incredible stresses of the job and the fine work they do- but that doesn’t excuse harassing a politician doing what they consider their job, police officers also have incredible power.

  6. Joe Ruggerio

    @John ONeil..AMEN.

  7. Bruce

    @M Murray
    Were you given access to the video as a former cop before the public? My understanding is that it will be released Monday. I find it alarming that you as a supposed trained investigator would reach a conclusion without the video being released and without a forensic examination of the video to verify if it has been altered or or not.

  8. David McCarthy

    Someone definitely needs to file something with the IRS if this is an actual organization with tax exempt status. This is over the line, as noted, Duff plainly exaggerated this issue into existence.

    “Bruce”…if Mike Murray has said once that he is responding based on Harold Tobin’s summary, he’s said it 6 times…including in the second line of his comment here…give it a rest

  9. M Murray

    @Bruce. David McCarthy said it better than I could. I fully expect an apology from Bob Duff for his accusations of the video confirms he was not spit at, but experienced what was merely a gesture of disdain towards an elected official by a constituent which had no expectorant directed at him. I also expect an apology if it shows that there were no 30 officers attempting to surround his vehicle and preventing him from leaving and bullying him. Should it only show that a dozen officers exited the building to watch him leave, his exaggeration and misrepresentation in order to play the victim, politics has reached a new low point in Norwalk.

  10. J. Calvo

    Well, spitting on someone is a simple assault/breach of peace… No cops have been charged, why would we believe that Duffs statements are true?


    All the men who posted on this letter needs to be silent. All your racist, negative comments are becoming exhausting, especially ONEILL. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

  12. RosieH

    Duff wants to ensure “privileged white men” aren’t reprimanded for their actions at all it would seem…after all he argues that those who do so must therefore treat the rest of the world worse. Way to grab a thesis, turn it to your advantage and denigrate others. Poor privileged white man with all that power he talks about…don’t we all feel super sorry for him?

  13. CAROL

    Duff should Resign,he was not spit at and 30 officers did not surround him,he lies and this is great free publicity for the upcoming election.

  14. Bruce

    @MCarthy /Murray
    Its almost 3pm and still no video has been released. I tend to believe it will be altered to fit the narrative of the Norwalk Police Department

  15. Bruce

    @David McCarthy
    Considering that you are no longer a resident of CT why not give your bias Politics a rest.

  16. Joe Ruggerio

    @ridiculous…what racism? That term is so loosely thrown around nowadays that the sheep who read just the comments believe whatever is written as gospel. Please give examples of racism.


  17. John ONeill

    @Ridiculous – Although I disagree I like your spunk…You’re welcome in my home any College Football Saturday to root on Note Dame or the NY Mets..

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