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Bassani Alleges AssaultBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, November 03, 2005
North Adams - The news director of the WNAW AM 1230 radio station has filed an application asking that a criminal complaint of assault and battery be filed against city Mayor John Barrett III.
Edward "Ted" Bassani of Beaver Street alleges that during a Nov. 1 meeting with Barrett at Barrett's office, Barrett shoved a bag belonging to Bassani into Bassani's chest while ordering Bassani to leave the office.
The application was filed on Nov. 2 at the Northern Berkshire District Court. A show-cause hearing before a court clerk-magistrate is a likely next step for Bassani's application; court officials said on Nov. 3 that a hearing date has not been scheduled.
Bassani was suspended from his job at the radio station after filing the complaint application. A Nov.3 late morning telephone call to Vox officials in Pittsfield seeking comment about Bassani's suspension was not returned by press time.
Speaking on Nov. 3, Barrett said that no physical encounter occurred between him and Bassani.
"This is much ado about nothing," Barrett said."What he alleges absolutely did not happen. I've been here for 22 years and I've never had anything like this happen to me with a reporter."
Bassani said that he has no plans to withdraw the complaint application.
"As of now, I am pursuing this complaint," Bassani said.
According to a copy of Bassani's complaint, Bassani was asking Barrett questions about a potential city purchase of a West Shaft Road sewer line when the two became embroiled in a verbal exchange. According to Bassani's allegations, Barrett ordered him out of the office and asked an office worker to call the police. Bassani's statement also alleges that it was at that point that Barrett picked up the bag and shoved it into his chest.
Bassani said that the alleged physical contact led him to file the application for complaint.
"Both of us raised our voices in an exchange and that's happened before between the two of us," Bassani said. "I don't necessarily have a problem with that."
Bassani said that whether he was in Barrett's office as a reporter or as a city resident has no bearing on the complaint application.
"Whether I was there as a resident or reporter is of no consequence," Bassani said. "No one, whether a constituent or reporter, should have to deal with physical threats or intimidation from his or her mayor."
Barrett said that no physical altercation or intimidation of any kind occurred during the meeting with Bassani.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.