Bat­tal­ion chief faces as­sault count

Dis­pute al­legedly arose over boots at a uni­form store

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jim Shay

WEST HAVEN — A New Haven Fire Depart­ment bat­tal­ion chief has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with an al­leged as­sault of a Horwitz Uni­form em­ployee over a pair of boots, po­lice said.

Her­schel Wadley, 53, of New Haven, is charged with third­de­gree as­sault and dis­or­derly con­duct. Wadley turned him­self in to West Haven po­lice Thurs­day.

The ar­rest stems from an in­ci­dent at around 1:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Horwitz Uni­forms on Mor­gan Lane.

Mem­bers of the New Haven

Fire Depart­ment have a voucher/ cloth­ing al­lot­ment from the city of New Haven with Horwitz Uni­forms.

The worker told po­lice that Wadley wanted to buy a pair of boots that were not on the ap­proved ven­dor’s list. Wadley be­came in­creas­ingly up­set when the worker re­fused to add the $125 boots to the list, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest war­rant af­fi­davit.

The war­rant af­fi­davit said Wadley wanted her to “fudge” the pur­chase or­der “to make it look like he pur­chased them through the City of New Haven.” After she re­fused, Wadley be­came more vo­cal and asked, “why are you so hard on me?” ac­cord­ing to the war­rant af­fi­davit.

“Wadley be­came very up­set and be­gan be­rat­ing (the worker),” the war­rant af­fi­davit said. “Wadley raised his voice and be­came very vo­cal after be­ing de­nied the boots and at one point told the worker he would steal the boots.”

To defuse the sit­u­a­tion, the

worker asked Wadley to fill out the rest of his or­der. As the worker was putting to­gether Wadley’s or­der for white shirts, work pants and a mock turtle­neck, he again brought up the boots

. He asked her to “look the

other way” so he could get the boots, the war­rant said. The worker again said “no”.

“At that point, Wadley pushed (the worker’s) tem­ple area. It was then that Wadley came up from be­hind and grabbed her by the back of the neck, with his right hand, and clamped down and squeezed her neck and be­gan shak­ing her neck side to side, say­ing,

‘I thought we were friends’ and con­tin­ued squeez­ing her neck,” the war­rant af­fi­davit said.

After the worker raised her voice, Wadley re­leased her from his grip, the war­rant af­fi­davit said. A co­worker told po­lice she did not wit­ness the al­leged as­sault, but did hear Wadley yelling.

There was no video or

sur­veil­lance equip­ment in the area, po­lice said.

Bob Horwitz, the store owner, later called New Haven Fire Chief John Al­ston, who placed Wadley on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave. Wadley re­mains on leave with pay and the depart­ment has sus­pended its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Al­ston said. Wadley also is banned from vis­it­ing the store,

po­lice said.

Horw­tiz said there have been times in the past that Wadley “had be­come up­set and loud in the store be­cause he could not get some­thing he wanted that was not on the ap­proved ven­dor’s list.”

Wadley is ex­pected to ap­pear in Su­pe­rior Court in Mil­ford Dec. 18 to an­swer the charges.


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