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Brawl Triggered By Mourners Protesting Arrival of Unwanted Guest [Correction]

Former boxer, Councilman Travis Simms shot with Taser after struggling with officers, police said.

A brawl Sunday night started after people mourning the death of a woman protested the arrival of an unwanted guest led to four arrests, including retired boxer and former City Councilman Travis Simms, who police shot with a Taser stun gun.

Officers were called to Townhouse Garden Apartments, 15 Madison Ave., at 10:55 p.m. on a report of a fight in the building's courtyard. When they arrived, they reported about 20 people engaged in a brawl.

Lt. James Walsh said the officers ordered everyone to disperse, and most began leaving the area. However, he said, a woman, later identified as Sephylia Paulk, incited the crowd to continue fighting and was arrested.

While she was being placed in a patrol car, Walsh said, two cars containing several men pulled to the curb on Monroe Street. They exited and confronted the officers, who ordered them to move back and leave.

The men, including Simms, Walsh said, continued to taunt the officers. He said Simms approached the officers and told them he is a councilman and  professional boxer.

Simms acted aggressively toward the officers and Officer Paul Wargo drew his Taser and pointed it at him. Walsh said a woman stepped between Simms and Wargo, and pushed the Taser away from Simms.

Walsh said Wargo and Officer Jared Zwickler then ordered Simms to put his hands behind his back, which he refused to do. He said they struggled with Simms to pull him to the ground, and when he continued to resist, they warned him he would be shot with a Taser.

Zwickler then fired his Taser, hitting him in the upper, right back. He was incapacitated long enough for the officers to handcuff him.

Simms was transported to Norwalk Hospital to have the Taser prongs removed.

Walsh said officers learned the incident began when family members gathered in an apartment to mourn the loss of Mary Stewart [See correction in comment box below]. Mary Stewart was the mother of Andre Stewart, who is dating Paulk.

When Stewart arrived with Paulk, members of his family refused to allow her into the apartment, triggering an argument that led to several fights, Walsh said.

Paulk, 47, of 55 Glasser St., was charged with second-degree breach of peace and interferring with an officer. She was held on $2,500 bond and given a court date of Aug. 30.

Simms, 41, and his wife, Sandra Y. Stokes, 41, of 28 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, were charged with second-degree breach of peace and interferring with an officer. Both were held on $1,000 bond.

Simms was given a court date Aug. 20. Stokes was given a court date of Aug. 30.

Andre Stewart, 48, of 15 Madison Ave., was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree threatening. He was held on $5,000 bond and given a court date of Aug. 20.

Harold F. Cobin August 21, 2012 at 03:34 PM
This story has been corrected because it erroneously reported that Sonja Oliver was deceased. She is not. The name of the descedent is Mary Stewart, mother of Andre Stewart.

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