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Maturo: DOJ Report 'Slanderous' Against East Haven Community, Police

What do you think? Read the report for yourself — the Justice Department's full findings letter is included in the gallery that accompanies this article.

Update at 1 a.m. Tuesday

Leaders from St. Rose of Lima Church in Fair Haven, who against the East Haven Police Deparrtment,  stating that the U.S. Department of Justice's findings supports their allegations of racial profiling and police brutality against Latinos by the East Haven Police Department. 

“Two years ago this month, our congregation and others in the community joined together in a vigil recognizing the start of this investigation,” said Father James Manship, a priest at St. Rose of Lima Church. “The Department of Justice’s announcement today vindicates the complaints of racial profiling by Latinos that have devastated our community for years.” 

Angel Fernandez, a leader of the St. Rose Pastoral Council, stated: “Neither the Town of East Haven nor the East Haven Police Department has been willing to take any serious steps to curb anti-Latino abuse and harassment. Only a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment of Latinos and an end the intimidation of police officers and community members will address the community’s concerns.”

Update at 7:30 p.m.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo had some strong words following this afternoon's U.S. Department of Justice's press conference announcing that it had found the East Haven Police Department had engaged in discrimination against Latinos.

"I'm kind of upset," Maturo told East Haven Patch earlier this evening.

The mayor, who did not attend the Justice Department's press conference in New Haven this afternoon, said he felt the federal agency's report was "slanderous to our community" and "slanderous to our police department."

Maturo said he felt the department's findings did not include specifics regarding when and where the incidents of discrimination occurred, as well as "who they happened to and the officers involved."

"It just gave these broad statements (about things) that I'm not sure exist in our police department," he said of the report.

In addition, Maturo criticized the Justice Department for how the federal agency notified his office of today's press conference.

The mayor said his office did not receive official notification about today's 1 p.m. conference in New Haven until shortly after 12 p.m. this afternoon.

The Justice Department sent out a press release to local news media outlets alerting them of today's press conference just after 10:30 a.m. this morning.

"It seems very political to me," Maturo said, adding that members of the town's previous administration — including former Deputy Director of Town Affairs Paul Hongo — were in attendance at today's press conference. (See video of Hongo's comments following today's press conference in the gallery that accompanies this article).

Maturo, however, said he did receive a briefing from Justice Department officials regarding their findings via telephone later this afternoon following the press conference.

And the mayor added that he is ready to work with federal officials to help improve the town's police department.

"I'm ready to help work to make our good police department a better police department," he said.

Original Article (Posted at 3:30 p.m.)

The has "engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against Latinos in violation of the Constitution and federal law," according to the results of a two-year U.S. Department of Justice civil investigation.

"The residents of East Haven should not have to choose between effective crime-fighting and constitutional policing," U.S Attorney David Fein said at in New Haven that announced the investigation's findings. "By addressing the serious deficiencies we've uncovered, EHPD will not only ensure constitutional policing, but will also give the men and women of the EHPD the support they need to combat crime effectively."

A dispatcher with said that would not yet be making a public statement regarding the Justice Department's findings.

Calls placed a short time ago to East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo and President Sgt. John Miller were not immediately returned. A Justice Department official said at today's press conference they would be meeting with Maturo and other town officials regarding their findings this afternoon.

Launched in September 2009, the investigation was conducted under provisions of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Specifically, the Justice Department reported that its investigation found the East Haven Police Department targets Latinos for traffic enforcement and treats Latino drives more harshly after traffic stops in violation of the 14th Ammendment, Title VI and the Safe Streets Act.

The federal investigators further stated that they found the East Have Police Department "willfully enabled discrimination by failing to put in place basic law enforcement practices and procedures used by law enforcement agencies across the country to prevent discrimination."

The Department of Justice stated their findings are based upon:

  • a statistical analysis demonstrating that Latino drives are disproportionally targeted for traffic stops;
  • an analysis of traffic stops showing that officers used non-standard and, in some cases, unacceptable, justifications for stops that are not employed against non-Latino drives, and post-stop treatment that shows EHPD treating Latino drivers more punitively than non-Latino drivers;
  • serious incidents of abuse of authority and retaliation against individuals who criticized and complain of EHPD's discriminatory treatment of Latinos; and failure to remedy a history of discrimination and a deliberate indifference to the rights of minorities, including EHPD's failure to guide, train, supervise and discipline officers engaged in unlawful discrimination 

The Justice Department also found a number of serious deficiencies in EHPD's management, oversight and accountability systems that have enabled a discriminatory policing.

The federal officials said these deficiencies include:

  • a failure to collect and report traffic stop data in accordance with state racial profiling laws;
  • a failure to implement policies prohibiting discrimination;
  • a failure to hold officers accountable through internal investigations;
  • a failure to provide limited English proficient Latinos with appropriate language access;
  • and a failure to abide by individuals' consular rights.

In addition — although officials stated they were not making formal findings — the justice department also noted two areas of "serious concern" regarding allegations of use of excessive force and unconstitutional search and seizures.

"These findings dhow that the East Haven Police Department systematically violated the constitutional rights of people it is supposed to serve and protect. By failing to have in place the most basic systems designed to protect individuals form unlawful discrimination, EHPD has fallen short of its obligations," Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said. "The recommendations we make will put the police department on path toward correcting the serious deficiencies that have long played the department and regaining the communities trust."

The justice department's independent investigation was conducted by department attorneys, investigators and police executives and other experts who interviewed EHPD offices and resident in East Haven. 

The investigation also involved an "exhaustive review of documents and data, including EHPD policies and procedures, incident reports and traffic stop activity.

This civil investigation was separate from any ongoing criminal investigations into the East Haven Police, justice department official said.

They added that federal law permits the attorney general to initiate a civil action in the name of the United States against the town of East Haven, East Haven Police Department and its officials "to remedy the pattern or proactive of misconduct and ensure compliance with the Constitution and federal law."

Justice department officials reported that they will work with East Haven officials to obtain their voluntary compliance through a court-enforceable agreement that will lead to sustainable reforms.

"Should the EHPD and East Haven choose not to cooperate in reach an agreed-upon remedy, the department may seek relief unilaterally from the federal courts," the justice department officials reported.

The civil investigation was conducted the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division in coordination with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut and with the assistance of expert police consultants.

Starting tomorrow, members of the community who may wish to provide information to the justice department in furtherance of the investigation can call 1-855-202-1830 or email Community.EHPD@usdoj.gov.

The Justice Department's full findings letter is included in the gallery that accompanies this article. The department also has a section of its website related to the East Haven Police Department investigation, where the document can also be obtained.

East Haven Patch will provide updates to this story with additional comments, reaction and video from this afternoon's announcement of the Justice Department's findings.

clint December 21, 2011 at 08:37 PM
My guess is that lance guy,hundo,queen april and gino all get loockjaw and shut up1
Richard Poulton December 21, 2011 at 08:39 PM
None of us don't really know what the facts will actualy show as far as this investigation is concerned, for it has yet not been completed. But I strongly recommend that the readers research Thomas Perez, the Asst. Atty. Gen. in the Civil Rights Div. Biggest concern is when complaints were made by whites, his office rejected them. Lawyers in his office were transfered out for complaining when white cases were brought up, and was blatently pushing for black & hispanic cases only. Look at what happened in the voter intimidation incident with the Black Panther party during the 2008 presidential race. When investigated by the DofJ, all attorney's involved in pressing the case against the black group were transfered out and prohibited from testiying. This man has a history of picking on whites, and no doupt is under orders from Eric Holder. As well as there is a perjury case being presented against Perez for lying in investigations to make his case(s). Just research this man and make up your own mind.
Patrick Madley December 21, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Hahahahaha, Luigi, you are so funny. I was nice and not rude to you at all. But you know what Luigi? You do a lot of talking on Patch. Would you like to meet up and discuss politics? Guarantee you won't because you need to hide behind your alias. You have a big mouth when it comes to insulting our federal government. They don't just do things to do them. They have reason to.
Luigi (the original) December 21, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Thanks Patrick for getting my obvious tongue in cheek comment towards your juvenile take on politics. Perhaps you are not a complete lost cause....or perhaps I just feel extra generous for the Holidays. Just so there's not confusion, I would not be interested in "talking" to you about politics in person, and not because I feel a need to hide from you, but because it's obvious to me that your young "liberal" idealism is rudimentary and boorish. But Happy Holidays young man.
Patrick Madley December 21, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Luigi, you just proved my point. Using your alias is your way to prance around town "proudly". Well Luigi, if you were a real man you would say who you are like I do. But let's keep it to this article, bottom line is wrong was done and the federal government had to come in to fix it. By the way, I am not so liberal so I wouldn't be making accusations. There are several opinions that I have which are conservative which is why I typically identify myself as a moderate.
Dan December 21, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Good question Luigi. When will you learn? Probably never. It won't change your mind but I am confident that there will be plenty of facts revealed that will back up the report. Let's wait and see, but like I said, I doubt that your opinion will change regarding the people "living among us" in "our" town. By the way. Are there undocumented Italians, Irish Polish etc living among us as well. If so, do they register their vehicles or break the law more often than us "regular folk" too. Just askin since you seem to know a lot about undocumneted persons and their habits.
Luigi (the original) December 21, 2011 at 09:53 PM
OK Patrick as long as "you" feel vindicated by your own comments, bravo to you. Now as to my desire to remain anonymous, I've spoke of this often. It is my prerogative, if you don't like it, tough. I could care less if it offends you somehow. Knowing my name or who I am has no bearing on my opinion, it's still my opinion. If you believe the Feds came in here to "fix" anything, that's your opinion and I would disagree. Now, I know your name, big deal, does it change your opinion? Lastly, you consider yourself a "moderate"? interesting, a moderate in the same vain as Al Gore or Jimmy Carter, maybe. But like it or not, you are a liberal, your posts are all liberal, your dribble is all liberal. Good night.
Luigi (the original) December 21, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Dan, "Are there undocumented Italians, Irish Polish etc living among us as well. If so, do they register their vehicles or break the law more often than us "regular folk" too." You're kidding, right???
Patrick Madley December 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Luigi, I see what you're saying. Unfortunately for you, I probably know more about politics than you. You cannot tell me WHAT I am in the POLITICAL SPECTRUM. But the point here is, remain anonymous so you can prance around town like a big boy and be happy. Whatever makes you happy! :) Anyway. The Feds ARE here to fix something. Something that went on too long and is finally getting fixed.
CitizenVoice December 21, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Patrick, you sound like a smart guy - It certainly has been amusing reading your discourse with Luigi. At least now I don't feel alone. He jumps all over me whenever I post in here. Its great to have a local arena to post our thoughts and concerns. However, after reading in here for awhile, I sometimes come away thinking Luigi and Rosie are the same person, just male & female alter egos on a mission to dumb-down this site. I gave up on any rational conversation. The HuffingtonPost.com ran the EHPD story yesturday, now that's a place where you can get into some interesting commentary and ideas at a higher level of intelligence than you will find in here. Check it out.
Patrick Madley December 22, 2011 at 12:04 AM
CitizenVoice, you are most likely right about them being the same person. But I bet you're right about the interesting convos on the HuffingtonPost because that right there is a true political story. Thank you for your support! :)
Julie Weisberg (Editor) December 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM
CitizenVoice: Thank you for mentioning the HuffingtonPost.com article. HuffPo is basically our big sister publication, and they frequently pick up and run stories from local Patch.com sites — as they did with East Haven Patch's story on the DOJ findings Monday. For those interested in reading that article, here is the link: http://patch.com/bvaGa
Rory Ochs December 22, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Same person or Art and Ann?
CitizenVoice December 22, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Every Latino & Hispanic family here lives in fear of the EHPD. We're not talking illegals here. We're talking Latino citizens who get caught up in the EHPD over-zealo­us and routinely disrespect­ful roustings in search of law-breaki­ng "illegals"­, mostly in motor vehicle stops. Of course, there are some illegals but they are small in number compared to the many who are harrassed because of their ethnicity. East Haven has been a notoriousl­y racist town for years. It wasn't all that long ago when crosses were burned in the shoreline section of the town and black people were very aware they were not welcome here. To this day, there are few black families living here. Police sported "Boyz-On-T­he-Hood" tee-shirts depicting cops slamming (obviously­) black men on the hoods of cars. All this condoned by the "Good Ol' Boy" Maturo admin. that was recently put back in power. We had a 4 year break with Mayor Capone, who had taken steps to remedy this ugly situation, including putting the Chief Of Police on leave while the DOJ did its investigat­ion. Unfortunat­ely, she lost re-electio­n this past Nov by 35 votes. Now we're back to the same people who turned their back on all the racist practices for many years. In fact, the 1st thing Maturo did when he assumed office was reinstate the Chief Of Police just days before claiming he was "ambushed" by the DOJ report. This town has taken a giant step backwards and I fear the worst is yet to come.
CitizenVoice December 22, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Julie & Patrick: Another good blog site is http://crooksandliars.com/. Its loaded with timely, pertinent and fact-checked info. You're sure to find it entertaining and refreshingly honest.
CitizenVoice December 22, 2011 at 03:49 AM
So Luigi, it seems you're construing liberal with truthful. Now that's a step in the right direction, but ya gotta take it slow. And I whole-heartedly agree with your desire to remain anonymous. I like the feeling of just being a random thought process, not associated with gender, age or social status, and its probably just a safe choice considering the abundance of hot-heads in East Haven... & God forbid, I should get pulled over for a traffic violation. Yikes!! Now, C'mon... where's your sense of humor. Non of this will matter a 100 years from now. Have a happy & healthy Holiday.
ASmith December 22, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Where is Mr. Dan? Did he leave town? Maybe he postin under an alias. I sure he has things to say about all the goin ons. All the big stuff comin down now. This was Christmas. Wonder what New Years will bring.
Luigi (the original) December 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM
Patrick, twice already you've made some inference that was obviously meant as a derogatory slur. Let me set the record straight, if there's any "prancing" going on, it's certainly more likely by you than me. You probably caught yourself "prancing" all around democratic headquarters six weeks ago doing your master's bidding and running their errands. I am NOT affiliated with either party. I attend no political functions and stand by MY beliefs independently of anyone's influence. That said, you seem to take umbrage regarding my choice to remain anonymous, because I don't often agree with your opinion, but you "welcome" with open arms others who remain anonymous because they come to defend you? Also, while you may "think" you know more about politics than me, you really have no idea. That is the crux of what I've been saying all along about you, you express your thoughts as though you are some authority, but in reality it's just your personal opinion or perhaps it's the opinion of one of your political mentor's which you feel obliged to express on their behalf. Lastly, let me assure you, I am NOT Rosie or anyone else. My name is Luigi, I reside in East Haven, I have no personal involvement with any party or administration. I am a man who chose to remain anonymous and these ARE my opinions. PERIOD.
Maury McGee December 22, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Ding, ding, ding!!! Bingo Rory you are exactly right!!!!
Luigi (the original) December 22, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Hey Ding Dong, let me assure you, I am NOT Rosie or anyone else. My name is Luigi, I reside in East Haven, I have no personal involvement with any party or administration. I am a man who chose to remain anonymous and these ARE my opinions. PERIOD.
Rosie December 22, 2011 at 02:42 PM
And why is my name coming out of your mouth?? You don't know me, I don't know you. I am not Luigi, my name is Rosie, and I am a life long EH resident. Dumb down this site, I don't think so. Everything I have to say is the truth and I speak very intelligently. I am a registered democrat who is totally sick of the nonsense over the last 4 years. Just because I don't agree with your views, doesn't make me wrong. So, really, get over yourself. You are starting to look foolish. And Patrick, didn't your parents ever teach you to stay out of adult conversations? I have at least 40 years on you, kid. Respect your elders and learn some manners.
Rosie December 22, 2011 at 02:43 PM
You guys crack me up!!! Keep guessing....
Lance Coughlin December 22, 2011 at 05:19 PM
huffington post is a pro obama propaganda site.
CitizenVoice December 23, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Welll I suppose one would think that if all they were used to is FOX, Limbaugh & Beck hate radeo & similar right-wing web sites, but it doesn't make it true. Some of the reporting may be a little over the heads of the un & misinformed. All I can do is lead the horse to water....
Anthony M December 25, 2011 at 04:56 AM
And Maturo proves to be right yet again. Wheres are all the apologies?
Richard Poulton December 25, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Yes it is a great site for those of you who are extreme liberal in their thinking. Right out of MSNBC. Everyone and anyone can slant a topic any which way to fit there agenda.
Patrick Madley December 26, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Right about what?
CitizenVoice December 26, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Now you got me iterested. What exactly was he right about?
Rich February 18, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Huffingtpost is completly liberal? higher level of intelligence ??
Rich February 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
You have that right about Huffington post

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