Councilman Luis Velez and his wife Evelyn Sanchez are publicly accusing each other of domestic violence.
“He did this to me,” wrote Sanchez in a social media posting with three pictures showing bruises and an ankle brace.
Both were involved in a dispute early Sunday morning. Police were called to the house, according to both parties.
“I believe in God. God knows, I never touched my wife,” said Velez. He claimed she injured herself while camping in Pennsylvania in late March; however, Sanchez denies that claim.
Instead, Velez said he is the victim of domestic violence. He came out of shower to find Sanchez “acting crazy” and “ballistic.”
“She was saying she’d kill me and kill the bitch,” said Velez. He said his wife had been holding a knife while making the threats. He said he feared for his life and obtained a temporary restraining order.
“He hit me, I hit him,” said Sanchez, who pointed out Velez obtained the restraining order two days later, on Tuesday. “It’s not the first time Luis and I got into a fight, but this time everybody will know.”
Sanchez found text messages on Velez’s phone to a woman named Leo, an employee at the Paterson Health Department.
“I saw a message that was not right. So, when I opened it, I saw that he was telling somebody, ‘I love you,’” said Sanchez. “He was cheating on me.”
Velez claimed he did not send the overly affectionate text messages which were posted on social media and have ignited a brouhaha in the city’s Spanish-speaking communities.
Velez and Sanchez had been together for 9 years. Both were married three years ago, said Velez.
“There’s no cheating on my part,” said Velez. “There’s no female involved.”
The couple’s marriage had been falling apart long before the fight. Sanchez filed for divorce in early March, she said. Her intuition told her there was another woman in the picture, she said.
Velez said she never told him why she wanted a divorce.
Both had been involved in fights before. Velez said she left deep scratches on his body. He said he had bruises from previous fights as well.
Both attended parties together, but after Velez’s re-election in 2016 that stopped, according to the councilman.
Sanchez said Velez has a drinking problem. She had to tell him to cut back, she said.
Velez said Sanchez has been melancholy since the death of her 20-year-old son Kevin Milfort-Sanchez in an accident in Newark in Sept. 2018.
“Councilman Velez certainly looks forward to having his day in court. We will establish that he is the victim in this unfortunate situation,” said Velez’s attorney Michael DeMarco.
It’s not clear who is the victim in this case. Police could not release information about what occurred at the couple’s house because domestic violence incidents are confidential.
Velez said Sanchez has been reaching out to his opponents to destroy his political career. He said she wanted to move out of New Jersey to live elsewhere, but that he could not leave behind his political career in Paterson.
Velez, who is up for re-election in 13 months, said Sanchez has vowed to put him “through hell.”