New Canaan Police on Wednesday arrested a 55-year-old Greenwich man by warrant after he told a town parking officer issuing him a ticket “Remember what happened in Ferguson,” among other comments, officials say.
David G. Liebenguth, 55, of Cos Cob, turned himself in to police at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 for second-degree breach of peace, police say.
The incident occurred 10:43 a.m. on Aug. 28 (a Monday) in the parking lot at Morse Court, where Liebenguth had been issued a $15 ticket for parking in an unpaid space, according to Sgt. Carol Ogrinc, public information officer of the New Canaan Police Department.
In addition to referencing Ferguson—the Missouri town that made international headlines after a police officer last month shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, sparking weeks of debate, protests, vigils and civil unrest—Liebenguth also used expletives and a derogatory word for African-Americans in lashing out at the ticket-issuing New Canaan Parking Bureau officer, who is black.
According to the police report, Liebenguth told police that he believes he was targeted because his 1999 Ford station wagon is white, Ogrinc said. Liebenguth said that after the parking officer issued him the ticket, another motorist (a white woman) who had been in an unpaid parking space did not get a ticket, police said. It isn’t clear what color her car is. According to a police report, the parking officer had started to write a ticket for her but stopped—as it is his discretion to do—when she explained that she was new to town and wasn’t familiar with local parking rules.
An eyewitness corroborated that Liebenguth had made reference to Ferugson in addressing the parking officer and also used the racial epithet as he drove away, Ogrinc said.
Police heard the complaint and investigated, though Liebenguth did not phone back police to give his side, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. After a prosecutor and judge signed a warrant for the breach of peace charge, police sent Liebenguth a letter to turn himself in, Krolikowski said. He sent a response demanding that police vacate the letter or that he would file a complaint against the parking officer, Krolikowski said.
Greenwich police became involved and went to Liebenguth’s house to arrest him, Krolikowski said. He wasn’t home just then, but turned himself in a short time later, on Sept. 17, police said. The public information officer for Greenwich Police Department, Lt. Kraig Gray, said the department regularly works with New Canaan police and other agencies, as needed.
He was released after promising to appear Sept. 29 in state Superior Court in Norwalk.