Hard Feelings On Both Sides After Paulsboro Man Loses

Posted: November 10, 1991

For Mozelle Dansby, who on Tuesday lost his third bid for election to the Paulsboro Council, few elections could have been worse. Not only did he lose - finishing dead last in a five-way race for two council seats - he got arrested.

In the process, Dansby, a black independent candidate who espoused a platform of unity, might have driven an even bigger wedge between himself and the Police Department he had accused of brutality and racial prejudice less than two years ago.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office later determined the charges were unfounded.

Dansby also appears to have further damaged his credibility with council members, many of whom already had doubted his sincerity in caring for the well-being of all of the borough's residents.

"Mr. Dansby's was a self-centered campaign," Democratic Council President James Sabetta said after the election.

Sabetta defeated four-term incumbent John Burzichelli for the mayor's post Tuesday.

Some police officers have accused Dansby of violating the nuisance ordinance - which led to his arrest Oct. 29 - solely to get free pre-election publicity.

Dansby has declined to address that accusation.

He is charged with violating the nuisance ordinance by using a public address system to campaign, and with assaulting a police officer who tried to stop him.

Dansby, a corrections officer at Mid State Correctional Facility at Fort Dix and a 21-year resident of Paulsboro, said he planned to sue the borough over his arrest on charges of simple assault, resisting arrest and violating the nuisance ordinance.

"I know that I'm being denied my due process as far as running a campaign," Dansby said after his arrest.

If Dansby does take legal action against the borough, it will worsen an already strained relationship.

On Oct. 15, the council - including Dansby's victorious Democratic opponents, incumbents Jeanne Giampola and Lawrence Haynes Sr. - refused to grant him permission to use a public address system while campaigning.

Dansby stormed out of the meeting, vowing to use one anyway and accusing the council of blatant discrimination.

Two days after his arrest, Dansby drew three citations for disturbing the peace by broadcasting a tape-recorded campaign message from speakers he had set up on the front porch of his house on Swedesboro Avenue.

Earlier in the month, Dansby accused police of harassment and discrimination after they ordered him to remove his campaign posters from utility poles, saying the staples were dangerous to Atlantic Electric workers who must climb the poles.

Despite his defeat in Tuesday's election, Dansby contends his confrontations with the borough have not harmed his standing in the community. And he does not intend to change his style.

"I never stop," he said. "When I stop, they'll be . . . placing me in a tomb somewhere."

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