AP NEWS

Altercation between Bridgeport cops under review

March 20, 2019

BRIDGEPORT - A tussle between senior officers in the police chief’s office earlier this month is now the subject of a criminal investigation, multiple police sources have said.

The sources said the Chief States Attorney is reviewing the details of the March 6 incident between Capt. Brian Fitzgerald and Sgt. Charles Paris, the head of Bridgeport’s police union.

A spokesman for the Chief States Attorney had no comment.

Attorney Thomas Bucci confirmed that he has been hired to represent Fitzgerald in the incident.

“On behalf of Captain Fitzgerald I sent a letter to the city’s director of labor relations about the incident and in the interim I’ve been informed that the chief ordered an investigation by the Office of Internal Affairs,” Bucci said.

Bucci declined to comment on whether the details of the incident have been referred to criminal authorities. Through a spokesman, Chief Armando Perez had no comment on the incident.

Multiple sources said that during a meeting of senior officers in Perez’s office, Paris got into a heated argument with Fitzgerald over the use of a drug-sniffing dog in the department.

The sources said the argument ended when Paris lunged at Fitzgerald with his fist raised. Senior officers had to pull Paris off of Fitzgerald, they said.

Paris did not return calls for comment.

The incident comes at a time of turmoil in the Bridgeport Police Department as a result of the release of an internal investigative report detailing allegations of officers using excessive force and lying about their actions during a chaotic response to a noise complaint at a pre-Halloween party on Colorado Avenue in October 2017.

Two officers cited in the report have committed suicide since the party. The most recent of those deaths, case, that of Sgt. Mark Belinkie, who was cound dead in his Milford home on March 2, resulted in further friction in the department.

Two police officers who discovered Belinkie’s body, Lt. Ronald Mercado and Sgt. James Geremiah, were later suspended by Perez after, sources said, they turned their back to the chief at Belinkie’s wake in a protest.