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Town Attorney Calls For CHRO Complaint’s Dismissal

Published: March 15, 2019 at 07:00 am

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A town attorney is challenging a Seymour man’s complaint to the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) that Newtown police discriminated against the man and is calling for the CHRO to dismiss the man’s complaint.

In a March 7 statement submitted to the CHRO, attorney Alexander Copp wrote, “The complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief, being frivolous on its face, and/or having no reasonable possibility of resulting in a finding of reasonable cause.”

In his February 5 CHRO complaint, George T. Tarby, III, who is in his early 50s, states that he is a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and claims that police have failed to address his various complaints and have exhibited an ongoing pattern of harassment against him, arrested him, and had him hospitalized without his consent. In his complaint, Mr Tarby claims that the police’s actions, in effect, resulted in his becoming homeless.

In his statement to the CHRO, Mr Copp wrote that Mr Tarby claims the police discriminated against him on private property at 280 Berkshire Road, not in any facility which is owned or controlled by town police.

Mr Copp added that Mr Tarby does not fall within a class of individuals protected by state law because the property at issue is not a place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement. The lawyer states that 280 Berkshire Road, which is owned by James Mastroni of Easton, holds an abandoned building. Mr Copp wrote he believes that Mr Tarby had been sleeping in a van there, adding that 280 Berkshire Road was not open for public use.

The lawyer submitted to the CHRO a copy of a letter from Mr Mastroni stating that if police found Mr Tarby on the Mastroni property, it would constitute trespassing.

Mr Copp additionally denies that police have harassed Mr Tarby or that police have failed to address his complaints. Mr Copp works for the law firm Cohen and Wolf, PC, of Danbury.

The stated mission of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education.

Mr Tarby is the subject of a pending case in Connecticut Superior Court in Danbury. On March 27, 2018, Newtown police charged him with second-degree breach of peace and with creating a public disturbance.

In a news release that followed that incident, police said that Mr Tarby had allegedly made threatening statements to a person with whom he had a telephone conversation. The victim in that situation was a crisis intervention clinician with the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network, according to police.

Mr Tarby’s next scheduled pre-trial court appearance is May 10. The matter has been on the court docket 13 times. Mr Tarby is represented by a public defender.

Through his CHRO complaint, Mr Tarby seeks to have the CHRO investigate, secure for him his rights under applicable law, and provide any remedy to which he may be entitled.

“I was discriminated against and harassed based on my mental disability — post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr Tarby states in his CHRO complaint.

CHRO complaints are reviewed the agency, with action taken, if warranted.

 

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