HARWICH — Selectman Jannell Brown was in court Wednesday answering an assault charge, the second time she has done so in as many years.
Brown pleaded not guilty to a single misdemeanor count of assault and battery on a family or household member, and a single charge of malicious destruction of property valued at less than $250. She was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim, and will return to court for a pretrial conference on Aug. 23.
The charges stem from a domestic argument shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, when the alleged victim called the police to report that Brown was refusing to give him his car keys, and had slapped him in the face. The Chronicle is withholding the name of the man, whom police said is in an “on-and-off dating relationship” with Brown.
Police responded to the area, and the man showed them a video that he had taken with his cell phone. In his report of the incident, Harwich Police Sgt. Aram Goshgarian wrote that Brown was initially facing away from the victim, and he could be heard saying, “you're really trying to say I assaulted you.” The video then shows Brown turning and approaching the man with the camera, Goshgarian reported.
“The video shows Ms. Brown take her left hand and swing it in a slapping motion towards [the man]. I could clearly see her hand come towards [the man] and then the phone falls to the ground and the video ends,” Goshgarian wrote.
The alleged victim showed police his cell phone, the face of which which had several cracks, and told officers that the damage was a result of the interaction with Brown.
Police reported that Brown told them that she had asked the man to help take down several large tents which had been left up in the yard following a party, and he declined to do so. Brown also told officers that she was withholding the man's car keys as collateral for a $400 loan she had made to him, and which she feared he would not pay back.
Brown was arrested by police and held at the Harwich Police station for a six-hour “cool-off period,” after which time a bail commissioner authorized her release on personal recognizance.
It was a similar domestic altercation that prompted police to file an assault charge against Brown in November 2015. Brown accepted the court's offer of nine months' pretrial probation in that case, and the charge was dismissed when the terms of that probation were fulfilled.