The mayor of Darby, PA, charged with assault after an attack at a council meeting

November 17 – Darren Burrell, the mayor of the borough of Darby in Pennsylvania, allegedly punched another council member at a meeting on November 3. 

Council member Omar Thompson was taken to the hospital where he was treated for a concussion and other injuries. 

The 41-year-old mayor turned himself into police and was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats. He was released on bail and ordered to stay away from Thompson – which means the mayor is not allowed to attend meetings. 

Thompson’s lawyer is alleging homophobic slurs were also used by Burrell. 

Darby is a town of about 10,000 people. 

Keep in mind, in Pennsylvania, the mayor is in charge of the police department. Also, because of the order to stay away from Thompson, at the most recent meeting, the mayor wasn’t in attendance. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “A lot of people showed up at that meeting last night demanding that the mayor resign. He so far hasn’t said he’s going to do that.” 

If he’s convicted, he very likely will be removed from office. 

The assault had apparently taken place after the November 3 meeting had adjourned. Burrell said he wanted to talk to Thompson and seemingly out of the blue attacked him.  

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Apparently the discussion before that was about traffic issues. I thought it was going to be some very controversial thing. The homophobic stuff, who knows. Was that just something he personally threw at the guy as he was angry at him for something completely unrelated?”

Barkdoll said, “Very sad when you see public meetings reach this level of physicality.” 

“We’re losing all of our norms,” Jansen said. “That’s the problem. People don’t understand. As this new philosophy that wants to disrupt all norms takes hold, then there’s no more norms. There’s no more regular practices. It’s all artificial constructs and we can behave any way we want.”