Fight on the 19th floor: the details

It took a few days, but I finally found out what happened during the “altercation” in Westchester County Surrogate Court last week. This is what Westchester County Police told me:

A former Surrogate’s Court employee named Charmain Smalls had a beef with Deupty Chief Clerk Johanna O’Brien (her former boss?) and confronted her in a courtroom. The argument escalated, and Smalls threw an umbrella,  hitting O’Brien in the chest.

Smalls, 31, of Queens, was originally charged with aggravated harassment, which is either a misdemeanor or a low-level felony, depending on the degree. But county police said she was incorrectly charged and changed it to second-degree harassment, a violation.
She was released on her own recognizance and ordered to appear in White Plains City Court on July 10.

State Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scarpino Jr., who heads the Surrogate Court, directed all questions about the confrontation to David Bookstaver, spokesman for the New York State Office of Court Administration.

Bookstaver identified Smalls today (which allowed me to get the details from police), but he declined to offer further details about the incident, saying it was an “internal dispute.”

Click here to read the original blog post about the fracas.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.