NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Sources are talking to the News 8 Investigators about incidents where New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman “lost his cool.”
In October 2014, when Michelle Obama came to Connecticut to rally votes for Governor Malloy, Chief Esserman waited at Tweed Airport for them to land, and planned on being a part of the motorcade. When Secret Service denied him, he “exchanged words” with members of the Secret Service and left the airport on foot, asking a New Haven Police Officer to pick him up.
Chief Esserman declined comment about that incident and others. News 8 talked to him outside the Jan. 13 Police Commissioner meeting, where Board of Alder members talked in a closed meeting about the Chief’s behavior. Alders penned a letter to the commission about Esserman’s behavior at the Yale Bowl, where Esserman threatened to shut the game down if he was not given a ticketed seat.
“Having a bad day was no excuse, but I was having a bad day,” said Esserman in December when the incident became public.
City employees confirmed other incidents, including ending a school presentation early because a teacher took a phone call in the hallway, and a 2012 incident at the Hamden DMV, in which a police officer was sent back to the DMV to apologize for Esserman’s behavior.
No city official was willing to be named for this piece. That, according to attorney William Palmieri, is what Esserman counts on.
“Chief Esserman counts on people who see his behavior sitting down and shutting up,” said Palmieri from his New Haven office.
Palmieri is representing a New Haven officer in a Human Rights Complaint against Esserman. That complaint is one of four confirmed by News 8. The city denied requests for records related to other Human Rights Complaints and the Human Rights Commission is barred from releasing the records, instead saying they are public records available from the city.
Chief Esserman would not comment on any of these incidents or others when asked by News 8.
“I respect that you’re doing a job, and that you’re asking me if I have an opinion, but I do not,” said Esserman.
It is unclear what action the Board of Alders or Police Commission is planning since the details of these incidents have become public.