New Canaan’s highest elected official said this week that he’s looked into the arrest in a domestic incident of a Parks & Recreation Commission member and has concluded that there’s no reason for the town to take action regarding that individual’s seat on the appointed body.
Jack Hawkins, 45, was arrested May 31 by New Canaan Police and charged with disorderly conduct. A 67-year-old woman, Judy Hawkins, also was charged with the misdemeanor offense following what police called a “domestic dispute” that involved both of them and a third occupant of the Hawkinses’ New Norwalk Road home. Police withheld details, saying it was a domestic matter.
Following the arrest and prior to the Commission’s June meeting, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan outlined a decision-making process whereby he would meet with police and discuss the domestic incident “to understand what they know before I can make any judgment as to Jack.”
Asked during a phone interview Monday whether he had followed up with police as planned, Moynihan said, “I would say no, although let me recollect entirely. Did I—I can’t recall exactly what my conversations were with either [Police Chief] Leon [Krolikowski] or [Deputy Chief] John DiFederico.”
Moyinhan added, “I am satisfied based upon the conversations I had with Jack and others that that matter was not something to be concerned about if it was a husband-and-wife thing. Let’s say it that way. I don’t think people realize the nature of the dispute.”
Moynihan noted that police generally withhold details in domestic arrests. Under state law, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct when he or she, “with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or by offensive or disorderly conduct, annoys or interferes with another person,” among other reasons.
Moynihan had said last month that Hawkins intervened in a dispute between his own mother and his wife. (Mark Sherman, Hawkins’s criminal defense lawyer, has declined to comment on case specifics, but has said that his client intervened in an argument between his mother and wife.)
Asked about the fact that police did bring a criminal charge against the commissioner, Moynihan said, “I’m not going to comment on the facts themselves, other than the fact that I based upon my review, and I did have some conversations—I just can’t recall them, to be honest with you—that didn’t justify any town body taking any action. If we, if there were circumstances that justified taking action, we would have taken action by now.”
Asked whether he spoke with the investigating police officer in the case or to NCPD command staff, Moynihan said the latter.
Krolikowski and DiFederico did not respond to an email inquiring whether they had spoken to the first selectman regarding the incident.
According to emails obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request, police on June 1 notified Moynihan and the town’s human resources director, Cheryl Pickering-Jones, of Hawkins’s arrest the day before, noting that he was a Parks & Rec member.
Moynihan immediately notified a staffer in his office, Tucker Murphy, the emails show.
The following day, he sent the arrest report to the head of the Republican Town Committee with a note saying, “FYI. Call me when you can.”
On June 2, NewCanaanite.com requested through email to receive the resume that Hawkins had submitted to the town prior to his appointment to the Commission in December 2018. When Moynihan said he thought that either Murphy or Pickering-Jones would forward the resume to this news outlet, Pickering-Jones replied to him by email, “You told me not to get involved with the Commissioners.”
Parks & Rec is scheduled to meet 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for its regular meeting.
Hawkins is scheduled to appear July 28 on the disorderly conduct charge.
According to Connecticut Judicial Branch records, Hawkins also had been charged in February 2020 with second-degree breach of peace and reckless driving. Those charges appear to have been dismissed, court records show. It’s unclear whether Hawkins informed town officials about the prior arrest. Hawkins said when asked about it that he didn’t know.
Prior to the Commission’s June 9 meeting, the chair of Parks & Rec, Rona Siegel, emailed Moynihan, Pickering-Jones, Murphy and the head of New Canaan’s public works, recreation and parks departments, saying she “wanted to address the situation surrounding Jack Hawkins and his current status as a standing member of the New Canaan Parks and Recreation Commission,” according to the emails obtained by NewCanaanite.com.
“As Chair of Parks and Recreation, I want to go on record that Mr. Hawkins behavior is counter to how we want our members to act and it is staining the reputation of Parks and Recreation within New Canaan,” Siegel said. “That said, it is within my remit to make recommendations surrounding the make up of our Committee. That said, given his recent arrest for domestic violence, in addition to another instance of Breach of Peace and Reckless Driving in February 2020, I am proposing Mr. Hawkins removal from his current position. This is the second instance in as many years of Mr. Hawkins being involved in a situation that involved the police. I would like to begin required proceedings to remove Mr. Hawkins from his current position and replace him with a candidate of your choice. I would like to conclude this by the end of the week so please let me know how we will proceed.”
Hawkins attended the Parks & Rec meeting the following week.
I’m not sure why there was such a rush to condemn Mr. Hawkins without being aware of the full set of circumstances, which are not for public knowledge anyway. Certainly there is no “stain” on the commission for something which most people were not even aware of. And frankly, now that I’m aware of it, I don’t really care about Mr. Hawkins’ private life. Not my business. Was there blood or broken bones? Apparently not. Do members of the commission feel at risk? I doubt that. Does Mr. Hawkins show up and do what he is supposed to do? Isn’t that what counts?
What amount of blood triggers your interest in these matters (for example, a pool of blood versus a trickle)? What about bones—what are top-tier bones, in your view? How meaningful is the difference to you, for example, when a pinky toe bone is broken in a domestic incident versus a femur or tibula?
You’re joking, right?
Seems like you need to take a break from the New Canaanite. If anyone knows Deborah, please let her know she’ll be able to start reading again on Aug. 19.
Michael, I know none of the people involved in this so I have no skin in the game, but this seems like an inappropriate response to Ms Chapman from the editor of the most comprehensive news source in New Canaan.
I don’t believe you. Take a break.