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Ex-East Haven Police Officer Miller Sentenced to Four Months

During his sentencing hearing, former EHPD Sgt. John Miller — one of four officers indicted for civil rights violations — was credited by the judge for his cooperation in the federal government's investigation and prosecution of the case.

East Haven Police Department cruiser. Credit: Julie Weisberg
East Haven Police Department cruiser. Credit: Julie Weisberg
All four East Haven Police Department officers arrested in December 2011 for federal civil rights violations related to racial profiling of Latino residents will each spend time in jail, after the fourth and final officer awaiting his legal fate was sentenced in Hartford on Wednesday.

John Miller, 44, a former sergeant with the department, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson to four months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for violating an individual’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the course of an arrest, according to the United States Attorney District of Connecticut's office.

Miller was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

Federal Investigation

Miller's sentence is the result a federal criminal investigation into members of the East Haven Police Department using excessive force during arrests, conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures and filing false police reports. 

As a result of the investigation, Miller and former officers Dennis Spaulding, Jason Zullo and David Cari were all convicted of various civil rights offenses.

'Excessive Force'

According to Tom Carson, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney of Connecticut's office, court documents and statements made in court report that in the course of making an arrest  on Jan. 3, 2010, Miller struck a handcuffed individual while the victim was in the secure custody of two other East Haven Police officers.

Although he had originally plead not guilty to the charges, on Sept. 21, 2012 Miller changed his plea to guilty to one count of depriving an individual of his right to be free from the use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer. 

During the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Judge Thompson credited Miller for his cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this matter and imposed a sentence below the recommended sentencing guidelines range of 12 to 18 months of imprisonment, Carson said.

Miller, who has retired from the East Haven Police Department, was ordered to report to prison on March 13.

Other Officers

On Oct. 23, 2012, Jason Zullo — who had also originally plead not guilty — changed his plea to guilty to one count of obstruction stemming from his filing of a false police report in order to prevent a possible excessive force investigation. On Dec. 16, 2013, he was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment.

On Oct. 21, 2013, David Cari was found guilty of one count of conspiracy against rights, one count of deprivation of rights for making an arrest without probable cause, and one count of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing a false report.  On January 21, 2014, he was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.

On Oct. 21, 2013, Dennis Spaulding was found guilty of one count of conspiracy against rights, one count of use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, two counts of deprivation of rights for making arrests without probable cause, and two counts of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing false reports to justify the false arrests.  On Jan. 23, he was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment.
CAjones February 18, 2014 at 04:14 PM
Thanks Lance, I know you don't usually like chatting with anonymous posters so I appreciate your answer.
On the Beat February 18, 2014 at 04:41 PM
That's clearly not a truthful answer by Mr. Coughlin. We all know what his definition of a "rat" is...make no mistake about it. If you give up the goods on a union member/fellow cop then you are considered a rat; regardless of your involvement or lack thereof. Any layperson knows damn well how the "brotherhood" works...
CAjones February 18, 2014 at 04:48 PM
Frankly I don't care what is or isn't the definition of "rat". My interest is what you call an officer who punches innocent clerks or pilfers drugs for personal use is called. More specifically if Lance knows anything about such activities.
Lance Coughlin February 18, 2014 at 06:14 PM
I don't and false allegations will be dealt with accordingly
CAjones March 06, 2014 at 03:07 PM
So it's Been a while since anyone has visited this thread... Certainly long enough for legal proceedings for alleged libelous comments. So does anyone have a status update? Lance? Nick? What's going on fellas?

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