The president of the local NAACP is disputing that former was drinking while in uniform at an NAACP dinner in October.
Moreover, Middlesex County Branch President Rosa Browne says Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano’s comments about McMahon having a glass of wine at the dinner place the NAACP in a “negative context.”
The chapter has demanded the mayor publicly apologize for using its name during a press conference in which he announced the demotion, suspension and investigation into the acting police chief.
The letter, issued to the Middletown Press on Oct. 20 and obtained by Middletown Patch, claimed Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano “misrepresented” the group’s name in statements he made to the press on Oct. 17 regarding now Deputy Police Chief Patrick T. McMahon allegedly drinking while in uniform.
Directed to “Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano, City of Middletown,” the correspondence accused the mayor of “using the Middlesex County Freedom Fund Dinner as a platform for his political gain and misrepresenting (its) name to the African Americans, Hispanics and all Middletown’s residents.”
Referencing herself, Anthony Gaunichaux, first vice president; and Grady Fitzpatrick, treasurer; of the local NAACP, Browne wrote, “(we) would like to clarify that we did not observed (sic) in our present (sic) the Acting Chief of Police Patrick McMahon having an alcohol (sic) drink during our Freedom Fund Dinner on October 6, 2011.”
Giuliano said he never received the NAACP press release. Further, he said of Browne, “She never called me to register a complaint.”
Browne confirmed she never sent the mayor her statement.
“The mayor has knowledge of this press release,” she said. “This was sent to the Middletown Press and he was questioned about it.”
The NAACP Freedom Fund dinner honors those in the community who work to ensure the political, educational, equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
The mayor was quoted by the media saying he was “with McMahon during the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner at the Cantina on Oct. 6 and witnessed him drink a glass of wine with his badge and gun on him.”
In response, Browne wrote, “we are demanding a public apology from the Mayor of Middletown Sebastian N. Giuliano for using our name in a negative context.” Further, it said, “The Middlesex County NAACP Branch is a nonpartisan organization.”
Giuliano said Browne “got her facts wrong.” During the press conference, the mayor said, he was simply repeating a conversation he had the previous week with McMahon.
“I didn’t accuse anybody (of drinking at the dinner),” Giuliano said. “Chief McMahon was the one who came forward and said he had a glass of wine at the Freedom Fund Dinner.”
The mayor countered her charge with one of his own.
“If anybody is making this partisan, they are,” Giuliano said of the local NAACP. “All I said is, ‘the chief called me to tell me that technically he violated the rule because he had a glass of wine at dinner.’”
Browne concluded her missive with a characterization of the mayor’s moral principals.
“I … will not tolerate an individual with poor ethics misrepresenting the truth and the values of civil rights of all Middletown residents,” she wrote.
Giuliano said nothing in his statements required pardoning — or retraction.
“If I had to apologize, what would I say?” the mayor said. "‘I’m sorry, Rosa, you can’t get your facts straight?’”