Bridgeport, CT – A member of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee was arrested on Friday night, after he allegedly fought with police and incited a riot over being issued a parking ticket.
Tony Barr, a convicted felon who served 20 years in prison for firing a “machine gun” at an undercover officer during his previous career as an enforcer for a local drug gang, was elected to the committee in March, the Connecticut Post reported.
He is currently campaigning for his attorney, Dennis Bradley, in his bid to become Bridgeport’s next state senator, according to the Connecticut Post.
On Friday night, a parking enforcement officer spotted a Honda minivan parked in a no parking zone near the intersection of Nichols Street and East Main Street, so the officer placed a parking ticket on the vehicle.
The vehicle belonged to Barr, 54, who was inside a barber shop at the time the ticket was issued.
When he realized what had occurred, Barr stormed out of the business and angrily confronted the officer, police said.
Additional officers raced to the scene as a large crowd began to convene in the area.
Barr then whipped out his cell phone, and began recording the chaos.
“[Bridgeport Police Chief] AJ Perez, I want you to see this,” Barr said in the video, according to police.
“Barr then in an aggressive manner stepped toward me and in an aggressive tone in close proximity of my face said, ‘calm down, what you’re gonna do is calm down,’ and then attempted to grab my arm," one of the officers wrote in the arrest report, according to the Connecticut Post.
Barr then began fighting with the officer as additional units arrived at the scene.
The growing irate crowd yelled at police while they struggled with Barr, who was ultimately placed under arrest.
“You just made a big mistake tonight,” he told the officers, according to the arrest report.
Barr was charged with inciting a riot, second-degree breach of peace, assault on a public safety officer, and resisting arrest, and was later released on bond.
Bradley said that Barr is "well-known" in the area, and blamed police for causing the chaotic situation.
“Tony Barr is a well-known member of the community and it’s unfortunate that the police didn’t try to resolve the situation short of an aggressive – and it was an aggressive – arrest,” Bradley told the Connecticut Post.
But it wasn’t the first time that Barr had acted out violently.
In addition to the offenses that led to his 20-year prison sentence, Barr was also charged in 2016 for threatening to “blow the mayor’s head off,” the Connecticut Post reported.
The incident occurred three months after Barr lost the mayoral race to Joseph Ganim, and resulted in him being charged with misdemeanor offenses of disorderly conduct and threatening.
“There was this big guy, and he was yelling he was going to get the mayor. We thought he had a gun,” a witness told the paper at the time. “He was really angry and he was going to get in. I thought he was going to attack the police officer.”
The government center security officer refused to allow Barr into the building to speak with Ganim, but allowed Barr to call him from the front desk telephone.
“I want to talk to the [expletive] mayor now,” he yelled at the mayor’s receptionist, according to police. “I’m going to shoot the [expletive] mayor. I’m going to blow the mayor’s head off.”
He later pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree breach of peace, and was sentenced to probation, the Connecticut Post reported.
Despite his guilty pleas, Barr denied having threatened Ganim, according to the paper.
“We have no issues with each other,” Barr said in March.