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Sen. Brown removed from Bond Bill Committee following verbal altercation

Megan Pauly
Delaware Public Media

State Sen. Darius Brown is replaced on another committee after a verbal altercation with a fellow lawmaker last week, and now faces the possibility of an ethics hearing.

According to witnesses, Brown angrily yelled profanities at State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown at a bill signing focused on criminal justice reform.

In response, Senate President Pro Temp David Sokola announced Wednesday Brown will be replaced on the Bond Bill Committee by Sen. Marie Pinkney.

In a statement, Minor-Brown related this incident to one that happened in May, “He has displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior toward women, and this is just the latest example.”

This is the second time this year Sen. Brown has gotten into trouble because of a public altercation.

Brown was removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee following his arrest by state police after police say he punched an acquaintance at a restaurant in North Wilmington.

Brown declined to comment on the matter.

In a statement, Sokola says, “Verbal abuse is abuse, full stop, and it cannot go unpunished.”

Sokola is also asking Brown to sign up for an anger management course and will help connect him with resources.

Minor-Brown says the actions taken by Sokola are a good step towards holding Brown accountable, but his actions not only harm fellow lawmakers, but the community he serves as well.

Senate Republicans responded to the announcement, saying in order to hold Brown accountable for his actions, serious consideration should be given to an ethics committee hearing.

"The vast majority of our caucus' staff are women, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they feel safe within the workplace," senate republicans say.

Their concerns haven’t gone unheard, Senate Ethics Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Lockman says they’ll be monitoring Brown’s court case, scheduled for early December, and convening to discuss the next steps in the coming weeks.

Freshman Sen. Marie Pinkney will replace Brown on the Bond Bill Committee, which is responsible for allocating the state’s capital funds.

Brown remains the vice-chair on two other committees, the Veterans Affairs and Elections and Government Affairs committees.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

This story has been updated to include a statement from Senate Republicans, and a response from Sen. Elizabeth Lockman regarding an ethics committee hearing.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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