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Charges against Mayo reduced to misdemeanor and resolved

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published 02/07/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 02/08/2014 12:01 AM

New London firefighter Alfred P. Mayo, who has been suspended without pay since he was arrested for a June 2013 fight at the Montville Polish Club, pleaded no contest to reduced charges in Superior Court in Norwich Friday and received a suspended prison sentence.

Mayo, initially charged with third-degree assault, pleaded no contest to second-degree breach of peace, a misdemeanor that defense attorney Ronald F. Stevens characterized as “the lowest criminal charge we have.” Mayo was sentenced to six months in prison, fully suspended, followed by one year of conditional discharge.

Mayo agreed to pay $3,000 to the victim for unreimbursed medical expenses.

Stevens contends that the other man involved in the fight, whose identity was not released, should also have been arrested. He said Mayo had a mark on his face following the dispute.

Prosecutor Christa L. Baker had offered the plea deal involving reduced charges and no probation following a review of the charges and several pretrial discussions with Stevens.

“It definitely was mutual combat,” Baker said. “There’s some disagreement about who started it.”

Mayo, 35, of Norwich, had waged a public fight for his firefighting job. Fired by the City of New London in December 2011, just days before his graduation from the state fire academy, he claimed he had been mistreated by the city and fire academy because he is black.

The city rehired him in May 2012, after Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said new information had come to light, including a report on the fire academy that concluded Mayo may have been treated unfairly during his training.

Mayo was playing poker at the Polish Club when the other man made derogatory comments about Mayo using race to keep his job in New London, according to Stevens. The man went to the parking lot and claims that Mayo punched him from behind. Mayo claims the man ripped his shirt off and charged at him. The victim suffered an injury to the left side of his face, according to Baker.

Stevens said he is hopeful that Mayo can return to work immediately.

“It’s up to the City of New London,” Stevens said. “It’s a breach of peace.”

Finizio said in a phone message that Fire Chief Henry Kydd and attorneys for the city will review the case and make a recommendation to him regarding Mayo’s employment.

“The fire chief and the law department need to examine the determinations that were made at court,” Finizio said. “They need to examine past precedent and practice in our department and the appropriate and relevant laws and personnel policies that would affect any decision in this case regarding Mr. Mayo’s employment. There is a procedure in place that they are required to follow. They will follow that procedure and make a recommendation to me regarding any potential actions to be taken.”

Finizio said he would withhold any further comment until he has the recommendation.

k.florin@theday.com

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