PITTSFIELD — John Brancazzu was arraigned Monday for allegedly blocking traffic on Dalton Avenue while clashing with a Black Lives Matter demonstrator, then refusing an officer’s orders to move his SUV, according to court documents.
The 55-year-old Pittsfield resident faces charges in Central Berkshire District Court of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was released on personal reconnaissance after arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His defense lawyer, Marc Vincelette, could not be reached for comment.
Brancazzu was driving a black SUV that had a Trump flag hanging out of the sunroof when he stopped about 75 feet before a red light on Dalton Avenue, while heading west, with no one in front of him, according to a police report prepared by officer David Carusotto.
The officer alleged Brancazzu was heard yelling at Black Lives Matter demonstrators, and did not move his vehicle forward after the traffic light turned green. The intersection of Dalton Avenue, Merrill Road and Cheshire Street has been the location of Friday night Trump rallies for the past several weeks that routinely draw BLM counter-demonstrations.
As Carusotto and fellow officer Izinna Lytle approached the SUV to move it along, Brancazzu got out of the vehicle and “got in the face” of Berkshire Black Lives Matter President Raymond Moore, Carusotto alleged in his report.
The two yelled at each other before the officers separated the men, then turned their attention to getting people out of the road, the report states.
No other arrests were made at the dueling rallies on Friday, according to police.
Brancazzu got back in his vehicle but refused to leave despite Officer Carusotto telling him to do so 10 times, according to the officer’s report. Though no one was in front of him, Brancazzu still didn’t move, and after a final warning he was removed from the vehicle by Carusotto and taken into custody.
According to the report, Brancazzu resisted arrest by twisting and thrashing his body. The officers took him to the ground while radioing for backup to deal with “rally-goers from both sides” who were “attempting to interfere with the arrest.”
Brancazzu was ultimately placed in a cruiser and booked at the Pittsfield Police Department, where a “minor injury” he sustained to his right shoulder was photographed. Brancazzu told officers he had a previous traumatic brain injury and was feeling pain in a foot, but refused medical treatment, according to the report.
He is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing Jan. 6.