'Bullies With Badges' (VIDEO/DOCS)

Four East Haven Police officers are indicted on 10 separate counts of federal criminal civil rights violations. U.S Attorney David Fein reminds the public that indictments are only allegations and all defendants are "innocent until proven guilty."

Update at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31

The FBI is asking those with information that may be relevant to the East Haven investigation to call 212-384-1000. Investigators have also have established an email address: EastHavenTips@ic.FBI.gov.

Update at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25

When asked to comment on Tuesday's news about the indictment and arrest of four East Haven Police Department Officers, Chief of Police Leonard Gallo declined to comment.

He referred East Haven Patch to the .

Update at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24

The federal grand jury's criminal probe into the East Haven Police Department is not over yet.

The four East Haven Police officers arrested early this morning for alleged civil rights violations — Dennis Spaulding, David Cari, Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller — were arraigned in Bridgeport Superior Court this afternoon.

But federal officials said today their investigation into the department continues — and they are encouraging anyone with information to come forward and share that information with the authorities.

"The investigation is ongoing," David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, told reporters at today's press conference in Bridgeport following the unsealing of the grand jury's indictment of the four men earlier today (the indictment is posted in the gallery that accompanies this article).

Fein said the federal investigation into the allegations of mistreatment and racial profiling of Latino residents by East Haven Police officers goes beyond individual officers who may have broken the law, but is about the department as a whole and thee for a "culture change" at North High Street headquarters.

"No one is above the law and no one is below the law," Fein said.

'Cancerous cadre'

The four East Haven Police officers arrested earlier this morning — known as "Miller's Boys" according to the endictment —  "allegedly formed a cancerous cadre that routinely deprived East Haven residents of their civil rights," according to Janice K. Fedarcyk, assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office of the FBI.

All four officers worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, with Miller serving as their supervising officer.

 “The public should not need protection from those sworn to protect and serve.  In simple terms, these defendants behaved like bullies with badges," Fedarcyk said.

More Than 30 Incidents

According to allegations contained in the 10-count indictment, from approximately 2007 through 2011, Miller, Cari, Spaulding and Zullo, "conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate various members of the East Haven community in violation of their Constitutional rights."

The indictment alleges more than 30 overt acts by the four defendants and others in furtherance of the conspiracy.  The acts include:

• A July 2007 incident during which Miller and another officer used unreasonable force against a victim in the vicinity of the Saltonstall Parkway;

• A November 2008 incident during which Spaulding used excessive force against an individual in the parking lot of a Latino-owned restaurant and bar.  Spaulding then arrested the individual under false pretenses to cover-up the assault, and prepared a false report to justify the false arrest;

• A January 2009 incident in the same parking lot during which Spaulding and Zullo arrested three individuals under false pretenses and with Miller and Cari present.  Zullo then used excessive force against two of the individuals in the EHPD station, and Spaulding prepared a false report to justify the arrests;

• A February 2009 incident during which Spaulding, Cari and other officers illegally searched a vehicle parked outside of a Latino-owned grocery store.  Inside the store, Cari and Spaulding, under Miller’s supervision, then arrested a religious leader, who is also an advocate for Latinos, on false pretenses.  At Miller’s direction, Cari, Spaulding, Zullo and others conducted an illegal search of the back room of the store in an effort to unlawfully seize the store’s video recording equipment.  In the days following the arrest, Cari drafted various false versions of an arrest report to cover up the false arrest of the religious leader.  In the months following the incident, Spaulding engaged in behavior intended to intimidate the religious leader and others.

• A January 2010 incident during which Miller used excessive force against an individual in the vicinity of Thompson Avenue, and then reprimanded a fellow officer who witnessed the assault and reported it to a supervisory sergeant;

• Intimidation and harassment of East Haven Police Commissioners who were attempting to investigate the arrest of the religious leader and certain alleged misconduct involving Miller;

• Intimidation of EHPD personnel, including threatening statements about an EHPD officer who was believed to be cooperating in an investigation of EHPD.

The Charges

Each of the four defendants is charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Miller, Spaulding and Zullo are also charged with one count of use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Additionally, Spaulding is charged with two counts and Cari with one count of deprivation of rights for making arrests without probable cause.  Each of these counts carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to $100,000.

Finally, Spaulding is charged with two counts and Cari with one count of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing false reports to justify the false arrests. Each of these counts carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

A full list of the charges and their potential penalties is posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Fein noted, however, that unlike the findings of the U. S. Department of Justice's civil investigation — which completed its investigation and issued that East Haven Police officers — the grand jury's indictment is not evidence of guilt.

Charges are only allegations, he said, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The indictment was returned under seal on Jan. 18. The case has been assigned to Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford.

Officials said individuals with information that may be helpful to the investigation can call the FBI at 212-384-5000.

East Haven Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. Video from the press conference will be posted later today.


Updated at 9:10 a.m.

The four East Haven Police Officers arrested this morning by the FBI have been charged by grand jury investigating allegations of mistreatment and police brutality against Latino residents with 10 separate counts of federal criminal civil rights offenses. (see unsealed Grand Jury indictment document posted in the gallery that accompanies this article).

The charges against East Haven Police Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari, Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller include:

  • Conspiracy Against Rights
  • Deprivation of Rights: Unreasonable Force (three counts)
  • Deprivation of Rights: False Arrest (three counts)
  • Obstruction: False Report (three counts)


Updated at 8:40 a.m.

U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, will hold a press conference this morning at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Bridgeport to discuss the unsealing of an indictment charging four East Haven Police officers with federal civil rights offenses.

Additionally, the four police officers who were arrested earlier today  are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport federal court, which is located at 915 Lafayette Blvd., the U.S. Attorney's Office reports.

East Haven Patch will be at this morning's press conference in Bridgeport, and will be providing updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages.


Original Story (Tuesday at 7:50am)

Four officers were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation early this morning in relation to the federal grand jury investigation into allegations of racial profiling and police brutality against Latino residents, according to a New Haven Register report.

East Haven Police Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari, Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller were arrested.

The Register reported that Miller, the head of East Haven Police officers , and Cari, part of the department's , were arrested at police headquarters on North High Street.

East Haven Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

donna January 25, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Miller doesn't. Know the law, and Spaulding payback is a bitch!
Rosie January 25, 2012 at 01:45 AM
That is hysterical!!! By the way, your "accent" slipped a bit...guess it is hard to keep track of the c**p you write!
Dave Hausler January 25, 2012 at 01:47 AM
The same comments were reprinted by the Courant, referencing the WPIX interview. This is our highest town official, on the record with a reporter. Unacceptable behavior under any circumstances, but especially today. When our police officers face federal charges for racial discrimination, our mayor should know better than to make such a "flippant" comment to the press, regardless of how many interviews he has given on the subject today. East Haven deserves a leader with the integrity to provide a strong example to our troubled police department, not the wrong example. http://www.courant.com/community/east-haven/hc-east-haven-mayor-tacos-0125-20120124,0,5054089.story
Joanne January 25, 2012 at 02:33 AM
This mayor is a joke. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard his taco comment. OMG....someone needs to tell him to just be quiet. What a cavone!
Pete Brennan January 25, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Well said Rich.
Suzanne Youle-wardle January 25, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Just when you think things can not get any worse you hear the mayor say to a New York media " I don't know I think I might go home and have tacos, we'll see." when asked about how he feels about EHPD situation. Of all the things he could have said, I almost fell out of the chair laughing. Vindication should certainly be Aprils as all of this has come out. Hey Joe while your having your tacos maybe you could ask Co-Conspiritor #1 how he is doing, hint Gallo.
Pete Brennan January 25, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Were you a part of it Lance?????? Just saying.
Pete Brennan January 25, 2012 at 03:24 AM
When you make a complaint against a PO, you don't talk to a Det. Thats not how it goes. Try again.
ASmith January 25, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Ok the foot in mouth jes keeps goin on. Just watched news-channel 3. Ole Joes excuse for his comment " the reporter asked me a bad question". The question the reporter asked em "what will you do for the latino community tonight?" Golly gee that there is a bad question to ask a mayor of a town that jes had 4 cops taken away by the FBI for tageting latinos. What question did he want that there reporter to ask em? How's your golf game? Thinks the current town hall tenant needs to stop talkin. He jes is makin it worse. Whats he gonna say when they subpeona him for the trials?
sam January 25, 2012 at 04:28 AM
CitizenVoice January 25, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Well that was a well-informed comment.
Rose January 25, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Did anyone watch the "live" report today from the FBI, it seems they have evidence of these officers trying to arrest the person who video taped the incident without cause, to retrieve the video tape to destroy evidence. Oh yes, it was mentioned that these officers were involved in trying to manipulate and obstruct the investigation. Also I believe I heard they were using intimidating actions towards both witnesses and their fellow police officers to hide or destroy evidence. Seems the FBI has collected a lot of evidence and these charges were not made lightly. Unfortunately, these four officers will now be what some feel is representative of our East Haven Police Department and that is unfair to all our police officers who do their jobs correctly and honorably. But, this type of behavior, especially from the people who we trust to protect us can not be tolerated. Justice will be served, but we must all remember they are only a few bad apples who represent a group of many good people.
CitizenVoice January 25, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Oh, didn't he make you proud to be from East Haven? After I finished laughing hysterically at that interview, it occurred to me how degrading it was for the town. If anyone has any doubts about the mismanagment of the PD or any other area of this administration, you need to look no further than that interview.
Kevin Cavallaro January 25, 2012 at 06:08 AM
The only group of people that are being harrassed,Discriminated against and treated unfairly are the police officers Who were doing their jobs to protect the people of East Haven from criminals.
thomas January 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM
you christians have a tall order to keep the heathen out of your town take a stand character over work ethic, go back to the old country sponges.
Miranda Brooke Rhyne January 25, 2012 at 07:09 PM
surprise, surprise but there are a lot of good cops out there it's these scumb's bag's that give's the hard working cop's a bad name it take's one bad apple to spoil the basket
Noneya January 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Can someone please tell me what towns to STAY OUT OF IN CT i mean besides EAST HAVEN and I guess Madison???? I wouldn't want to be beat up by an officer sprinkled with drugs and then arrested just for asking for directions...
Noneya January 25, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Im serious though I don't want to walk into racist towns or high criminal activity towns ...some one ....any one..
Lance Coughlin January 25, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Pete I arrested more felons In 3 months than you did in 25 years.
Rose January 25, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Kevin, you are obviously one of the poor ignorant people who we good citizens of East Haven have to deal with. The only comment I will leave you with is once again, justice will prevail. Oh and yes have a nice day.
Richard Poulton January 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM
And your ending comment remark isn't racist!
Richard Poulton January 25, 2012 at 11:13 PM
My recommendation and mine alone. To the officers of the EHPD. Remember what your oath was? Do your job with dignity and always be professional. If you see a violation of any law, do what you were sworn to do, but always with respect towards who you are dealing with, and hopefully that will be returned. Remember, you are not compelled to issue an infraction (motor vehicle) citation. BUT, if circumstance call for one, do it with documention. If probable cause is there by statutory authority then do your job. Just remember, document everything. If you are called out for a "stop" because of race, justify the stop, no more no less. I can remember having a driver yell at me for stopping him for a blown red light telling me to go "catch a real criminal" and telling him I will do just that after giving him his ticket, but always with a smile. Just remember your training. You can't go wrong.
Ivanna D. Truth January 25, 2012 at 11:29 PM
But who drank more coffee ?
Kevin Cavallaro January 26, 2012 at 12:04 AM
@ Rose no last name afraid to tell us who you are,There are a lot of us as you call us Poor Ignorant people who are not afraid to voice our opinions,There are some people who still care about this town and are tired of it being dragged through the mud,Your threat to deal with us does not scare us one bit.
Rose January 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Obviously Kevin you do not understand the context of the English language, "I have to deal with" is not a threat, it is an unfortunate fact of having to read the comments you have left all over the internet.
rocco January 26, 2012 at 04:26 AM
OrangeCountyCalifornia January 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Speaking as someone who's been subjected to reverse bigotry by Hispanics in the workplace on three separate occasions, I say the ones who took offense to his comments need to stop being so thin-skinned. Hispanics discriminate and make racist comments about whites and Asians all the time. Being sensitive and thin-skinned over minor slights like this is what makes Hispanics racist against whites and Asians. Here in Los Angeles, an Anglo fan of the San Francisco Giants had his brains bashed in by racist Mexican-American Dodgers fans who were also gangbangers and he will be disabled for life just because he wore the wrong jersey to the game, aka, the wrong colors. Racist Hispanics were posting in the L.A. Times website saying "that gringo got what he deserved." However it's Hispanics who play the race card everytime they feel slighted.
respuits January 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
If you make a complaint about a police officer to a detective he should facilitate "how it works" to the complainent. Unless you get a "bully behind a badge" detective . he would tell you to "try again"
respuits January 30, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Brennan answer your own question...just saying.
respuits January 30, 2012 at 04:15 PM
So are you saying this portion of the judicial system is flawed?


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