NORWALK, CT – City police union officials are calling for the department’s chaplain to resign after she accused police officers of racial profiling following a Memorial Day incident in which a police officer calling for backup said more than 100 Crips and Bloods gang members were at Calf Pasture Beach.
The Rev. Nellie Mann said she had no intention of resigning following Norwalk police union President Sgt. Tom Roncinske’s call for her to do so Wednesday night.
“I’m not going to step down. I feel we need to have some conversation and dialogue. I feel it can be worked out,” Mann said Thursday morning.
Mann said while she accused the department of racial profiling, she meant she did not want all the other children were gathered at the beach with no gang ties to be wrongly associated with them.
Man said she and others — such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Norwalk branch, and several other ministers — called it profiling because all the youths were identified as gang members.
Roncinske said the radio call was made by the department’s gang expert, Sgt. Charles Perez, who has 24 years on the job and now works on the department’s Street Team, which monitors the city’s narcotics and gang activity.
“The incident at the beach was never about race. It was about recognized Norwalk gang members,” he said in a statement released Wednesday night.
Roncinske said Perez made the radio call about seeing Bloods and Crips facing off and was referring to local gangs, not national. The call about the youths dressed in red and blue was made in order to give as much understanding to backup officers as was possible, he said.
On Thursday morning, Roncinske said he talked to Mann Wednesday and gave her the courtesy she did not give the department before speaking out against the officers who had to deal with the problem at the beach.
Roncinske said Mann did not talk to anyone in the department about the incident that closed the entrance to the beach for about 30 minutes on Monday afternoon.
One police source said a man shot in the shoulder on Wednesday night is a known gang member was part of the group seen at the beach Monday afternoon.
“The union has lost its trust and faith in her ability to serve our membership as chaplain, and she should resign immediately,” Roncinske said.
Mann said she is going to stand her ground and has no animosity toward the city police officers.
“I respect the police officers and I have nothing but love for them. I respect Chief (Harry) Rilling and Mayor (Richard) Moccia, but I want some respect, too,” she said, explaining that she viewed the call for her resignation as a sign of disrespect.
“I am disappointed, but not angry because I know I am a woman of God and I make mistakes,” she said.
Mann said that she would be attending Thursday’s Police Commission meeting with Norwalk Councilman David Watts and other ministers. She said she hoped they could talk about what she has said about how young people should be perceived in Norwalk.
From The Stamford Advocate.