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Easton Selectman Justifies Disorderly Conduct Arrests

Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann said the disorderly conduct arrests were legitimate because they concerned remarks made outside the public comments segment of the selectmen's meeting.
Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann said the disorderly conduct arrests were legitimate because they concerned remarks made outside the public comments segment of the selectmen's meeting. Photo Credit: File

EASTON, Conn. – The disorderly conduct arrests made during the Easton Board of Selectmen’s meeting Dec. 6 were unfortunate but legitimate because they were in response to comments made after the public comments session, First Selectman Thomas Herrmann says.

Easton residents John Bromer and Bert Webbe were issued citations for the Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by fines of up to $500. They will appear in court Dec. 21.

Both Bromer and Webbe spoke during the public comments session, and Herrmann labeled their remarks “judgmental and accusatory,” but no action was taken at the time.

“The disturbance occurred during regular agenda items,” Hermann said. “Bromer insisted on being heard and I said you can speak at the end of the meeting, but he said, ‘I want to talk now.’ It was out of bounds and out of order.”

Webbe spoke out during another public agenda item while Police Chief James Candee was processing Bromer’s arrest.

“He started querying and said you should recuse yourself. He was out of order so I asked for additional police assistance and the chief came back and brought him down to be booked,” Herrmann said.

“Some people have the misperception that the first selectman had them arrested, but I don’t tell the police who to arrest or not to arrest. I asked that they be removed,” Herrmann said.

"Tom didn't know I was going to give them a summons," Candee said. "It was entirely my decision."

He said his decision was based on a statute from the Connecticut Law Officers field manual that says one form of disorderly conduct occurs "with intent to cause alarm ... when the actor disturbs any lawful assembly."

"We'll continue to do that if our officers have to remove people for unlawful conduct," Candee said.

Disorderly conduct arrests had never been made at selectmen’s meetings during his tenure, Herrmann said, but he called for police assistance during a previous altercation.

“Bromer and Webbe want to martyr themselves for illegal arrests," he said. "Good luck telling that to the judge.”