A dispute between two men at a barbecue at Maidstone Park beach Saturday night ended with an East Hampton Town trustee, Nathaniel H. Miller, in handcuffs, charged by town police with obstructing the breathing of the other man.
Mr. Miller pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge in East Hampton Town Justice Court Sunday morning.
According to a witness, Mr. Miller and Clint Bennett, a town employee, were in a heated argument at about 7:30 Saturday evening when Mr. Bennett said, "Do something about it," at which time Mr. Miller allegedly placed Mr. Bennett in a chokehold.
East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana issued an order of protection for Mr. Miller's alleged victim at his arraignment Sunday morning. She then noted Mr. Miller's deep roots in the community as she released him without bail. In a letter Mr. Miller wrote to The East Hampton Star before his first run for town trustee in 2011, he said, "I am a 13th-generation Miller, and on my mother's side, I am a 4th-generation Vorpahl from Amagansett. East Hampton is where my roots are. . . ." Mr. Miller of Springs, was 32 when he first ran for office. He described himself as a bayman in his letter to The Star, in which he championed keeping beaches open to the public while at the same time preserving the environment.
Mr. Miller's wife was present for his arraignment, as were a couple of other people, a fact Justice Rana recognized when she said, "I see you have people here," as his arraignment got underway.
Mr. Miller has received the endorsement of The East Hampton Star in his two successful runs for trustee, in 2011 and 2013. In 2013, he ran on the Republican, Conservative, and Independent party tickets. Justice Rana gave him an August return date to deal with the charge.