HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Civility in government has become a hot topic, with sitting elected officials and voters lashing out, sometimes in person and sometimes on social media.
At the University of Hartford, Governor Jodi Rell’s Center for Public Service officials hosted a workshop on how elected officials can be civil in this day and age.
The institute for civility in government says elected officials are held to a higher standard.
“We don’t react to negative reactions with negative interactions. That’s what causes incivility to destroy our society,” said Dr. Sharon Anderson.
Just this past winter, a punch was thrown at a board of education meeting. It left a Glastonbury Board of Education official in hot water.
Last week, Colleen Dabkowski of Southington filed a police report and a restraining order against State Representative Liz Linehan.
“She approached me at my place of work,” Dabkowski said.
It states Linehan came to Dabkowski’s yoga studio at a Southington location on May 18 at 4 p.m. and confronted her about Facebook comments.
“I thought that was very emboldened of her to come up to a constituent in that way,” Dabkowski said.
In a Southington police report, the officer writes, “According to Colleen, Liz stated, ‘I did not know you had a job with all the time you spend trolling me on Facebook.'”
News 8 obtained Southington police bodycam footage from Dabkowski’s interview as she explains the encounter.
She is seen on the tape animating the conversation with Linehan. On the video, Dabkowski winks.
The officer did call Linehan. In the police report, the officer writes, “Liz stated that Colleen is always trolling Liz on Facebook and she fears that Colleen is trying to make her look bad because there is an upcoming election.”
According to the officer, Linehan told him she approached Dabkowski to say “hi,” and asked, “what was she doing there?”
Linehan’s recollection was stated in the report saying, “Colleen said forcefully that this was a place of business and Liz stated ‘I know, I spend a lot of money here.'”
News 8 reached out to Linehan. Her legislative aid said: “Linehan will gladly comment at the disposition of the case.”
The police officer’s final entry states: “During the course of my investigation, I found there were no threats made to either party.”
Dabkowski said she is asking for a restraining order because she does not want Linehan to intimidate her or put her employment at risk.
Both women will be in Meriden Superior Court next week for a hearing on the matter.
One is a Republican and one is a Democrat.