Jury: East Haven Police Violated the Rights of Latinos

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You don’t have to travel all the way to the borderlands to find tensions over immigration. Just take a trip to East Haven, the Connecticut town only 15 minutes away from Yale University.


On Monday, a jury found two East Haven police officers guilty of violating the civil rights of Hispanic residents.

The two officers, David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, made unwarranted arrests of Latinos and filed false police reports, according to the verdict.


The New Haven Police Department has faced criticism for years about alleged harassment of Hispanics.

Back in 2011, the Justice Department found that the department was systematically discriminating against Latino residents, and installed a court-appointed monitor to oversee its law enforcement.

Then four East Haven police officers — including the two mentioned above — were arrested and accused of harassing and terrorizing Latinos.

Even then, the message didn’t get through to the town’s mayor, Joseph Maturo Jr.

When a reporter asked the mayor what he would do to make things better for Latino residents, he just said, "I might have tacos when I go home, I'm not quite sure yet.”


Maturo later apologized.

"Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation."


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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