A Derby man rescued from a fire by first responders in March now stands accused of assaulting one.
On May 18 Derby police charged the man, Edward Minerly, 50, with assaulting a public safety officer or emergency medical personnel, and attempted assault of a public safety officer or emergency medical personnel. Both charges are felonies. He also faces two counts of second-degree threatening, a misdemeanor.
Minerly’s lawyer, Donna Candella, said Thursday that her client has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him but declined to comment further.
“With a pending case, I can’t go into details,” Candella said.
According to Derby Police Lt. Salvatore Frosceno, the charges stem from Minerly’s arrest May 18 on two violation of probation warrants.
While he was being detained in a holding cell at the police station on a court-set $10,000 bond for the probation warrants, Minerly “became irrational and became a danger to himself,” police said.
Frosceno said Minerly the complained of medical issues and asked for treatment, so medical personnel were sent to the station.
“While EMS was conducting their assessment of Minerly, he continued at physical attempts to harm himself,” Frosceno said. “Meanwhile, Minerly made ‘specific verbal threats’ to emergency personnel. Minerly at the same time also made attempts to physically assault emergency personnel. Minerly had to be physically restrained prior to being transported to Griffin Hospital by Storms Ambulance.”
The reason police had arrested Minerly that day — two warrants for violation of probation — date back to two 2007 cases, according to court records.
Though what prompted the 2007 cases is unclear, probation violation warrants on file at Superior Court in Derby say Minerly was convicted in April 2008 on two counts of second-degree forgery, and sentenced to two years of jail to be followed by five years of probation.
One of the special conditions of the probation was that he not possess any police, fire, or emergency medical paraphernalia of any kind.
He’s accused of running afoul of those conditions last December, when he was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer.
In that case, a man called Derby Police Dec. 9 saying he wanted to make a complaint against an officer for harassment.
The man said a Derby police officer had “jumped out from behind a garbage can and threw him up against a wall and searched him,” according to a police report on file at Superior Court in Derby.
The man told police that whoever searched him was wearing an orange jacket and identified himself as a Derby police officer. The man said the purported officer asked if he was carrying any drugs.
The man told police he began questioning why he was being stopped and searched, and that the “officer” called him a scumbag and said that “police can do anything they want.”
Upon hearing of the incident, the police report says another Derby police officer stated he had seen Minerly walking around Factory Street wearing an orange vest.
“Officers know that Minerly commonly hangs around the area and reports all kinds of activity that he perceives as suspicious,” the report says. “Minerly has also been arrested several times in the past for criminal impersonation.”
Police then went to Minerly’s residence to investigate, where they found an orange vest near his door “still wet from recent rain.” The man also identified Minerly as the person who had searched him.
Police charged Minerly with impersonating a police officer, second-degree breach of peace, and second-degree unlawful restraint in the case.
He remains free on $10,000 bond in the cases and is due at Superior Court in Derby June 21.
Firefighters arrived on the scene, at 130 Main St., to find the building on fire, with Minerly, who was in a wheelchair, trapped in his apartment.
The firefighters — father and son Mike Tracz Sr. and Mike Tracz Jr. and Brian Mezzapelle — and an auxiliary policeman got Minerly out of the apartment and helped him down an exterior staircase to safety.
Frosceno said Friday (May 31) that the investigation into what caused fire at the building home “remains open and ongoing.”
Minerly, who now lives in Shelton, is also listed on the state’s sex offender registry for a 1992 conviction for first-degree sexual assault, for which he served time in prison.