Wawa worker: Not first incident with Ridley cop

Ten days before she was allegedly pummeled in the face by an off-duty Ridley Township police officer, Monique Bronson reported him to a police corporal for his bad behavior in the Wawa Food Market where she worked as an assistant manager.

Brian Decker, off-duty, came into the store on Morton Avenue in Folsom Dec. 5 wearing a baseball cap and an Abercrombie & Fitch zipper jacket, Bronson recalled Tuesday. When he asked for chewing tobacco, she asked for identification – just as she would anyone who appeared 27 or under, the acceptable range for Wawa customers buying tobacco products.

“He stood there, staring me down,” Bronson, 42, of Media, said Tuesday in an interview in the office of her attorney, Arik T. Ben-Ari.

Decker, she said, never showed his ID.

“He picked up the chewing tobacco and threw four dollars,” she said. He even walked out without the 30 cents he was due in change.

“I voided the sale and called the police,” Bronson said.

According to Bronson, a corporal came to the store, located across the street from the police station. She was she was assured that Decker would not repeat such conduct.

For more than hour Tuesday afternoon, Bronson spoke about three incidents involving Decker, including the latest on Dec. 15 that landed her at Riddle Memorial Hospital with a black eye and contusions, and resulted in Decker’s firing from the police force as well as facing charges.

The married mother of four also spoke of her concern for her safety and the safety of her family, since Decker threatened them during the about 10-minute ordeal last week. And she and her attorney questioned the speed at which the township severed its association with the seven-year police veteran.

I am frightened because he is not where anyone can put their hands on,” she said.

“Is there something about this guy that makes this case an exception? In less than a week, there is a special (commissioners’) meeting and he is fired immediately,” added Ben-Ari.

Decker was fired Monday and charges against him were also filed by county Detective Robert Lythgoe, of the Special Investigations Unit.

Charges filed against Decker include simple assault, terroristic threats and harassment have been filed against Decker. His arrest is pending release from an undisclosed treatment facility in January, according to authorities.

Bronson said after the assault, she wanted to see Decker in handcuffs.

“Had it been another citizen, he would have been face down, kissing concrete and handcuffed,” she said.

She said she was training a new clerk when he approached the counter with a bottle of iced tea and asked for chewing tobacco, about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 15.

“I gave him a glance,” she said, adding she asked for identification.

“You know who the f— I am,” she said he stated.

“I know who you are, Monique … you better watch your back,” she said he told her.

When Bronson asked if he was threatening her the first time, she said he responded, yes. The second time she asked, he said, Take it any way you want it.”

When Decker finally pulled out his identification, she said he pushed it so far into her face, she couldn’t see it.

“F— see it. F— know it. I’m f—- 35,” she said he said.

It was at that point that Bronson said she told him to leave, basically banning him from the store.

“I’ll come and go as I f—- please,” he told her.

It was then that Decker said he was police officer and told her to come and talk to him, as if giving her an order.

Bronson said she walked to the other side of the counter.

“I wanted him out but if he wanted to talk to me, I would talk to him,” she said.

Standing by the milkshakes, she recalled saying to Decker, “What the f— is your problem.”

Bronson said Decker hit her in the left eye with a closed fist multiple times.

The force of the assault knocked her into the storeroom, she said. When the assault was over, she said she found a broken bottle of iced tea on the floor.

Bronson and a customer called 911.

Ben-Ari said Tuesday he has received no information regarding Decker’s whereabouts. Nor has his client been given any assurance that he cannot leave such a facility at-will.

Tuesday night, Ridley Police Capt. Charles Howley declined to discuss Decker’s whereabouts. As for the rapid firing, Howley said, “Something like this, you have to. It is what it is.”

Today, Bronson has an appointment with a specialist in sports medicine to follow-up on soft-tissue injuries Bronson suffered the afternoon of Dec. 15, Ben-Ari said.

Though her facial injuries were not obvious during the interview, Bronson said she is taking Motrin but was also prescribed Vicodin for pain.

“I did my job,” Bronson said, denying she in any way provoked Decker, whom she said she has seen maybe five times in the year she’s been assigned there, twice in uniform.

“If that is provoking,” she said, her voice trailing off.

Having had relatives on the police force in Philadelphia, Bronson said she grew up with a strong respect for those in law enforcement. An employee of Wawa for three years, she said she enjoys working with the public.

“I work with a smile from beginning to end,” she said. “I am a pleasure to work with. Customers thank me for smiling all the time.”

Ben-Ari’s firm announced Tuesday on his Facebook page that he was retained by Bronson. During the interview, he was clear he is handling civil concerns.

“We are in the middle of our investigation,” Ben-Ari said. “It would be very premature for me to suggest which parties may be liable and to what extend they might be liable.”

He said he will enlist aid from other law offices, though he declined to name them since they have not been formally retained.

source: www.delcotimes.com

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