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.
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.
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.