Conn. city agrees to settle US discrimination case

Oct 23, 2012, 9:32 PM

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A suburban Connecticut city roiled by a police bias scandal has reached a proposed settlement of U.S. claims that officers engaged in a pattern of discrimination and abuse toward Latinos, officials announced Tuesday.

The agreement, which mandates wide-ranging reforms of the East Haven Police Department, resolves allegations by the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division that officers regularly used excessive force and retaliated against those who witnessed police misconduct or criticized officers.

A separate, criminal investigation by the FBI led to the January arrests of four East Haven police officers on civil rights charges. One of them pleaded guilty Tuesday to obstruction of justice, and another pleaded guilty last month to using unreasonable force during an arrest. Two others have pleaded not guilty.

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said the agreement starts a new chapter for the police department.

“Entering into this agreement with the Department of Justice, and avoiding costly, prolonged and protracted litigation, is in the best interests of the town and the taxpayers,” Maturo said. “While the cost to implement the provisions of the agreement is expected to be significant, this agreement represents another step toward turning yesterday’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Maturo made national headlines himself when he said he might “eat tacos” when asked what he would do for the local Latino community after the FBI arrested the four officers.

The civil rights division, which announced the results of its probe in December 2011, began the investigation two years earlier following complaints that officers were harassing Hispanic residents of East Haven, a seaside city of about 28,000 people where Latinos make up about 7 percent of the population.

The settlement agreement, which still has to be approved by town agencies and a federal court, calls for a compliance officer to oversee the reforms. Its requirements include mandatory training on bias-free policing, development of up-to-date policies on applying for search warrants and stronger community engagement efforts.

Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said the reforms will result in effective policing for people who leave, work and travel in the town, outside New Haven.

“The proposed agreement will serve as a blueprint for sustainable reform that will provide the police department with the necessary tools and guidance it needs to restore trust from all segments of the East Haven community,” Perez said.

Also Tuesday, officer Jason Zullo pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, acknowledging that he falsified a police report. A plea agreement with prosecutors calls for him to serve one to two years in prison.

Last month, Sgt. John Miller, former president of the police union, pleaded guilty to violating a person’s civil rights by using unreasonable force, prosecutors said. Miller admitted that on Jan. 3, 2010, he struck a handcuffed individual while the victim was in the secure custody of two other East Haven police officers.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

In this photo released by the Longmont Police Department the Life Choices building in Longmont, Col...
Associated Press

Police investigating fire at Colorado pregnancy center

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — A weekend fire at a Christian pregnancy center in north-central Colorado is being investigated as a possible arson, police in Longmont said. The fire at Life Choices was reported at 3:17 a.m. Saturday, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and said abortion laws would be decided by […]
19 hours ago
The Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral Parish, preaches on the topic of abortion a...
Associated Press

After Roe’s demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

Most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation — and not the primary one.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Conn. city agrees to settle US discrimination case