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UPDATE: Miller Changes Plea to 'Guilty' in East Haven Police Civil Rights Case

Sgt. John Miller — one of four East Haven Police officers indicted by a federal jury for allegedly violating the civil rights of Latinos — admitted to investigators he "struck a handcuffed individual while the victim was in the secure custody"

UPDATE at 5:45 p.m.

Sgt. John Miller — one of four East Haven Police officers indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly violating the civil rights of Latino residents — plead "guilty" today "to violating an individual's civil rights by using unreasonable force during the course of an arrest," according to the Connecticut U.S. States Attorney's Office.

Miller, along with the other three officers arrested in January — Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo — originally entered a "not guilty" plea when the four men were first arrested in January.

But today, Miller pleaded guilty to Count 10 of the indictment, which charges the East Haven Police officer with "depriving an individual of his right to be free from the use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer," according to Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.

'No One is Above the Law'

Carson reports that Miller admitted that, on Jan. 3, 2010, while in the course of making an arrest, "he struck a handcuffed individual while the victim was in the secure custody of two other East Haven Police officers."

“The conduct of this officer, in striking a defenseless individual, is abhorrent,” U.S. Attorney David Fein stated in a press release late Friday afternoon. “Police officers serve the people of Connecticut with dedication and distinction, putting their safety on the line to protect others. This case reminds us that no one is above the law. This police officer abused his authority and violated the civil rights of a person he is sworn to protect. Such conduct will never be tolerated.”

“When a police officer uses excessive force, he not only victimizes the person whose civil rights he violated, he undermines public trust in the professionals who are sworn to protect and serve, and do so honorably,” stated FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Mary Galligan. “The integrity of our profession requires that law enforcement officers never be above the law.”

Mayor's Office Reaction

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr released the following statement regrding Miller's plea:

"Today’s event is unfortunate for our Police Department and the East Haven community; however we have been and will continue to move our Department forward  working for a better future that we can all be proud of."

The Mayor's Office added that there will be no additional comment at this time.

Miller to 'Cooperate Fully' with Ongoing Investigation

Chief Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for Feb. 1, 2013. Miller now faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

As part of his plea agreement, Carson said Miller — who is on administrative leave from his post at the East Haven Police Department — has "agreed to cooperate fully with the government in the investigation and prosecution of this matter."

Prior to his arrest, Miller was the president of the union that represented East Haven Police officers, Local 1662.

'Investigation is Ongoing'

Fein stated that the investigation is ongoing and encouraged individuals with information that may be helpful to the investigation to call the FBI at 212-384-2240.

As to the other defendants who are awaiting trial, U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

ORIGINAL STORY (Posted at 2:35 p.m.)

One of the four East Haven Police officers indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury for violating the civil rights of Latino residents has scheduled an appearance in federal court today in order to change his not guilty plea, according to the Connecticut U.S. States Attorney's Office.

"John Miller is scheduled for a change of plea hearing at approximately 4:00 p.m. today before Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford," Thomas Carson, spokesperson for the office, stated in a press release a short time ago.

Sgt. John Miller, along with the other three officers indicted, Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo, had previously entered a plea of not guilty to all charges.

Prior to his arrest, Miller was the president of the union that represented East Haven Police officers, Local 1662.

The results of this afternoon's court proceedings are expected to be released by the state's attorney later today, Carson confirmed for East Haven Patch.

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

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CAjones September 26, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I think the use of a personality "format" is ridiculous to the tenth power. Anyone who reads one, is less for it. Avatar names like Ivanna D. Truth, CAjones and ASmith are enough. Buts talkin likes a fool only makes us all look foolish......... By the way, I agree that IP numbers are not obtainable that easily, so please don't confuse my point with Ann D's. Also by the way, you and Smith ARE one and the same....... No need for IP numbers to know that.
Ivanna D. Truth September 26, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I agree CAjones. Personally while i've seen many valid points or truth to some of the posts made, I don't not enjoy reading riddles or what have you. So I do usually skip by. As far as to your last statement, ASmith and I are not the same person. Nor do i have any knowledge as to his or her identity.
Candace Fazio September 27, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Lisa, good for you girl!!!! Set them straight!!!! Prayers for your family , the people that believe in you/ John, well We're still here supporting you guys!!!
Lance Coughlin February 09, 2014 at 02:41 PM
Um - turns out he is indeed a rat
Lance Coughlin February 09, 2014 at 02:42 PM
http://touch.courant.com/#story/hc-east-haven-miller-sentencing-20140207/

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