From the CT Post:
When Robert Kravitz wore an Obama 2012 T-shirt to gas up his Volvo, he was stunned to find out how divisive the national campaign has become.
“I’m sitting there texting my daughter, and this big, burly guy puts his huge head into my car and starts screaming at me, calling me a f~~~ing socialist,” Kravitz said Friday. “I thought at first it must be a joke by some friend of mine. Who does that to a total stranger?”
Apparently, Paul Neugebauer, a lieutenant in the Bridgeport Fire Department, did.
Neugebauer was charged with breach of peace in the incident, and will be arraigned on Sept. 25 at Superior Court in Milford.
Bridgeport Fire Chief Brian Rooney said Friday he placed Neugebauer on administrative leave, pending a hearing. “I did it as soon as I heard about it, but there has to be an investigation,” Rooney said.
The incident took place Thursday at the Pilot Truck Stop, just off of Interstate 95 in Milford. Kravitz said he felt vulnerable sitting in his low-slung car, so he got out. The car also had a collection of Obama bumper stickers and magnets.
“And that’s when he grabbed my arm and shoved me against the car,” Kravitz said. “I could have used some help, but you know how people are. A bunch of them were standing around, but nobody did anything.”
Neugebauer denies grabbing or shoving Kravitz.
“I just said to him, ‘You really think this is the guy? He (Obama) hasn’t done anything.’ When the cop was here he said to me that if I said that (Kravitz) shoved me, he’d be charged with breach of peace too. But I didn’t do that, because it wasn’t true.”
Kravitz and Neugebauer stand on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Kravitz, a Woodbridge resident and a business owner, said while he doesn’t work for the campaign, he has contributed to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential bids.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, helped him secure tickets for himself and his daughter to Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Kravitz said.
Neugebauer has helped to run fundraisers for America’s 911 Foundation, a group that helps support veterans, first responders and their families, and volunteered himself at the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attacks. Neugebauer was also among several firefighters cited by the Bridgeport fire board for heroism in the rescue of two small girls from a burning apartment building in 1997.
But Neugebauer has gotten into trouble before for expressing his political beliefs too stridently. He was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, a hate crime, after a 2002 dispute with a convenience store owner and his son who were both of Middle Eastern descent.
“I was demoted for that and I had to pay a fine,” Neugebauer said Friday. “I got put on probation. Now I’m going to lose my job. It’s my own fault. I can’t keep my mouth shut and my employer is tired of it.”