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Darien coach resigns to focus on health following arrest

Photo by Norwalk Police Department

Christian Garnett, 32, an assistant Darien High School football coach, resigned from his coaching positions on Feb. 5 to focus on his rehabilitation following an October 2013 arrest.

Christian Garnett, the Darien football and lacrosse coach who was accused of assaulting a Norwalk officer during a 2013 arrest, resigned, according to his attorney.

Garnett resigned Feb. 5, attorney Mark Sherman said, to focus on his "rehabilitation from his injuries, many of which were very serious."

Outside the Norwalk Superior Court in January, Garnett said he suffered a stage-three concussion from the assault as well as a lower-orbital blowout fracture under his left eye, which he said required surgery and the insertion of a titanium plate to keep his eye from sinking in the socket.

Garnett, 32, a Stamford resident, is undergoing physical and occupational therapy for the injuries to his eye and back, Sherman said.

He also resigned so that his case would not be a distraction for the players he coached, Sherman said. Garnett coached six teams over the course of three years in Darien. The Darien Board of Education accepted the resignation that day without incident, discussion or further investigation, Sherman said.

He was placed on administrative leave Nov. 1, 2013.

Garnett was arrested at 12:41 a.m. Oct. 31 after police saw him speeding on three tires and one rim on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk.

According to court records, police found two grinders, one pipe, two syringe needles and a container with marijuana residue in Garnett's vehicle.

Norwalk police said Garnett failed field sobriety tests and then "violently struggled with the officers attempting to handcuff him." He's accused of kicking an officer who was trying to arrest him. According to the report, an officer punched Garnett in the face and another officer used a stun gun to subdue him.

He was charged with interfering with a police officer, assault on a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

However, Sherman and Garnett believed police used excessive force during the arrest and requested that an internal investigation take place. Sherman said he obtained a video from Hancock Pharmacy, 114 Connecticut Ave., across the street from where the arrest took place. Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said that while Lt. Paul Vinnett, who conducted the investigation, canvassed the area where the arrest took place, a pharmacy employee said no surveillance video existed.

Sherman claimed that the video shows an officer being pulled off Garnett while several officers restrain him.

The investigation found that the arresting officers acted accordingly and there was no evidence or testimony that supported Garnett's allegation of excessive use of force.

"The evidence reviewed confirms that you initiated the actions which caused officers to use physical force to attempt to gain control of you to affect your arrest," wrote to Garnett following the investigation. Read Full Article 

Garnett had a blood alcohol content of 0.197 and evidence of marijuana in his body shortly after his arrest, according to Norwalk police.

In January at the courthouse, Garnett said he would like to get back to coaching "in theory."

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews

Megan Spicer

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