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.
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.”