Cos Cob man charged after alleged racial rant against New Canaan parking officer

A Cos Cob man who allegedly got in what police called a racially-tinged dispute over a parking ticket this summer turned himself in to New Canaan Police to face a charge of breach of peace, police said.

The man, David G. Liebenguth, 55, of 17 Kent Place in Cos Cob, got a $15 ticket Thursday morning, Aug. 28, because his vehicle was parked in a space with an expired meter in Morse Court, according to police Sgt. Carol Ogrinc. The parking attendant was about to ticket a second vehicle as well when that vehicle’s owner returned to her car, claiming she was new to town and unfamiliar with parking regulations; the attendant chose to let the second driver off without writing a ticket.

Liebenguth reportedly then went over to the attendant, who is black, “and started getting on about it,” Ogrinc said, becoming verbally abusive and cursing. Liebenguth argued he’d gotten a ticket while the other driver didn’t because his 1999 Ford Escort wagon is white and told the attendant to “remember what happened in Ferguson, [Mo.],” referencing the shooting of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, that led to riots this summer.

Oddly, while Liebenguth’s alleged comment about Ferguson appears to be racially motivated, both he and the second driver are white, Ogrinc noted — and Liebenguth had said it was his vehicle being white, not he himself, that landed him the ticket. Nonetheless, there’s much less ambiguity whether a comment was racist when Liebenguth, either during or as he walked away from the dispute, also allegedly said “f—–g n—-r,” including the “f” word’s present participle and the perhaps most notorious of racial epithets.

Another person at the scene witnessed the dispute between Liebenguth and the attendant and overheard the epithet and reference to Ferguson, Ogrinc said, corroborating those elements of the account.

After the parking attendant reported the incident, police obtained a warrant for Liebenguth’s arrest. Liebenguth turned himself in at police headquarters Wednesday evening, Sept. 17, at about 7 and was charged with second-degree breach of peace. He was released on a promise to appear in court on Friday, Sept. 29.

According to Ogrinc, Liebenguth is pursuing a complaint against the parking attendant and maintains that he was wronged in the incident. The Cos Cob resident has sent letters detailing his complaint to New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi III, police Chief Leon Krolikowski and town attorney Ira Bloom.

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