MERIDEN — Police charged a city councilor with assaulting a family member following an argument Saturday night.
Police Sgt. Darrin McKay said Miguel Castro, a Democratic councilor representing Area 1, pushed a family member against kitchen cabinets, had a hand on the family member’s throat and slapped the person.
The family member called police.
“There were some physical marks that prompted the arrest,” McKay said. “We’re mandated by Connecticut state statute to make an arrest against a physical aggressor if we have any signs or indication that anything physical took place.”
Police charged Castro, 50, with disorderly conduct and third-degree strangulation, a class A misdemeanor.
Castro denied hurting anyone in his family and said he would work to keep them out of the public eye.
“Protecting my family has and always will be my main objective, especially for the sake of my loved ones’ personal health and safety,” he said. “I can assure the community that I did not commit nor caused any harm to anyone or any member of my family.”
Castro was released on $2,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court Wednesday.
Charges from previous arrest dropped
Castro was charged with assaulting two judicial marshals and inciting a riot during an emotional protest behind the courthouse in late 2018 as marshals transferred a New Haven man into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for deportation.
The charges were dropped in November as part of an agreement in which Castro stipulated that police had probable cause to arrest him, to release them of any liability. He described the year between his arrest and the charges being dropped as trying, with other elected officials calling on him to resign in light of his pending felony charge.
Castro accused the court marshals of “intentionally lying” in their statements given to State Police to "damage my name." Though Castro had to stipulate probable cause as part of his annulment, he said after his court appearance that he doesn't believe they had probable cause.
‘Back away from city service’
On Tuesday, council majority leader David Lowell, a Democrat, said Castro needed to prioritize getting the help he and his family needed if the charges were true.
“It is conduct inappropriate for anyone, never mind an elected city official,” he said. “I recognize it’s also a very personal matter and the priority for that family is to get the help that they need for all of the related issues that they are all going through. And that includes Mr. Castro getting help dealing with issues in this matter.”
That might mean resigning from the council, Lowell said.
“I feel it’s a matter of public trust and a matter of concern that Mr. Castro take the time he needs to address his issues and back away from city service at the moment,” Lowell said. “Given the gravity of the accusation and the allegations included in the arrest, I believe it would be in Miguel’s best interest to consider stepping aside from the City Council.”
Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said the charges made clear that there are family issues that Castro needed to address.
“That needs to be his focus and priority,” Scarpati said.
Castro’s legal trouble also could take away from the good things being done by the Meriden City Council, diverted attention that Scarpati said the city can’t afford. Castro’s resignation is a conversation “that needs to be had.”
“There’s going to be a number of questions because this isn’t the first issue he’s been involved in,” Scarpati said.