New information released on alleged racial slur incident
New Canaan police have released new details on the arrest of a man who they said used a racial slur and referenced Ferguson, Mo., to a black parking enforcement officer while protesting a $15 parking ticket.
David G. Liebenguth, 55, of 17 Kent Place, Cos Cob, was arrested Sept. 17 on a charge of second-degree breach of peace.
According to an arrest warrant application police released Wednesday, the suspect said he only received a ticket because he was white and he's planning to file a complaint against the parking officer.
Police said the 45-year-old parking enforcement officer issued a ticket to Liebenguth after finding the man's 1999 Ford Escort parked in an unpaid spot at Morse Court on South Avenue at about 9:45 a.m. Aug. 28. As the parking officer walked away from that vehicle, Liebenguth returned to his car and started an argument with the victim, according to police. The parking officer told police Liebenguth became verbally abusive and started swearing at him.
According to the newly-released documents, Liebenguth said, "Remember what happened in Ferguson?" -- in reference to a recent shooting of an unarmed black male by a white police officer in Missouri -- and then mumbled a racial slur and an expletive.
Before that, Liebenguth had complained that he was issued the ticket because his car was white and then because he was white, the document states.
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Liebenguth turned himself in Sept. 17 and was released on a promise to appear in court Sept. 29.
Four days before the arrest, the suspect denied the allegations in a letter he wrote to the New Canaan Police Department and other town officials.
"BREACH OF PEACE??? Quite honestly I was expecting an official apology on your employees behalf," he wrote.
Liebenguth also stated that the parking officer left his vehicle running and the door wide open while "flirting with a woman on the other side of the parking lot."
According to the warrant, the victim told police he left his vehicle parked idling behind the Ford and as he was in the process of issuing a ticket to another person, a white female approached him and said she was new to town and not familiar with the parking regulations. She was not issued a ticket.
Additionally, police said that when Liebenguth drove away, he shouted a racial slur and an expletive as he passed the parking officer. A witness told police she heard Liebenguth make the Ferguson reference and tell the victim he was issued a ticket because he was white. She did not hear the suspect utter any racial slurs, according to police.
In his letter, Liebenguth threatened to file an official complaint against the town and asked police to arrest the parking officer on harassment and unlawful imprisonment charges. The Cos Cob man stated that the parking officer ranted, raved and berated him, raised his voice, exhibited "flailing physical movements" toward him and screamed "you don't want to go there."
The arrest warrant application further states that Liebenguth left a message on the Parking Bureau's voicemail on Aug. 29 in reference to this incident. Police said he stated "you have a racist working for you" and that the parking officer "wrote me a ticket because I'm white, but let the black guy go." There have been no reports of a black driver receiving a ticket during the incident.
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