Ward 22 Alderman Rev. Drew King — who represents the Dixwell neighborhood as well as Silliman College, Timothy Dwight College, and Swing Space — was arrested Friday for allegedly pushing and choking a woman at a Dixwell “sober house.”
King, 55, was charged with third-degree assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct, the Associated Press reported Saturday. The two-term alderman, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said he left the scene before police arrived but turned himself in to the New Haven Police Department after a police supervisor contacted him later that day.
NHPD representatives were not available for comment throughout the weekend.
In an interview on Sunday, King maintained his innocence. He said the incident began when he asked a woman, who he said was a friend, for a piece of sausage while dining with others at his “sober house” — a residence he runs for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Though she refused, he said, he took a little piece anyway.
“She went berserk about the sausage,” King said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
King said he asked the friend to leave, but that she grabbed a stick and began to hit him instead. He said he took the stick from her — denying that he ever pushed or choked her — and she left. King was arrested several hours later after the woman called the police, he said.
“I’m just going to go to court, just basically tell the truth, and leave it alone after that,” said King, who will appear before New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday.
King said he has lodged several complaints recently with the police because some residents have been coming to the “sober house” to smoke crack-cocaine and take heroin. He was particularly surprised that the policeman charged with guarding his house would arrest him, King said, since it was he who had requested the officer’s presence in the first place.
“This is the saddest thing, because… they’re going to prosecute me and we have shootings all around, murders all around,” he said. “I said to the policeman, ‘I’m the head of Public Safety. Why would I come down and lie to you?’”
King also co-chairs the Committee of the Whole, the ad hoc body that is currently considering a proposed youth curfew.
Ward 24 Alderwoman Elizabeth McCormack, who chairs the Aldermanic Affairs Committee, said she has not spoken with King but urged residents to not rush to conclusions.
“I believe that we have to have a fair process,” McCormack said. “He hasn’t been convicted of anything.”
King is the third alderman to have allegedly violated the law in the past four months — and the second alderman arrested who represents Yale students.
In late August, Ward 1 Alderman Nick Shalek was arrested outside a city saloon and charged with breach of peace, criminal trespassing, and interfering with an officer.
And in September, a federal judge convicted former Ward 28 Alderwoman Barbara Rawls-Ivy of stealing nearly $50,000 in grant funds meant to help city public housing tenants. She ultimately resigned under public pressure, including calls from Mayor John DeStefano Jr. to step down.
McCormack said the offenses say nothing in particular about the 30-member Board of Alderman besides that “we’re all human and we all make mistakes.”
King said he is “very hurt” because of the accusations and is “on the point of resigning,” though he will probably stay on.