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  1. #1
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    FBI arrests 4 officers on rights abuse charges on illegal aliens

    The Associated Press

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Four police officers, including the president of the local police union, were arrested by the FBI on Tuesday on charges that they assaulted illegal immigrants and created false reports to cover up abuses in a New Haven suburb where a federal investigation found life was made miserable for Hispanics.

    The East Haven officers assaulted individuals while they were handcuffed, unlawfully searched Latino businesses, and harassed and intimidated individuals, including advocates, witnesses and other officers who tried to investigate or report misconduct or abuse the officers committed, according to the federal indictment.

    Federal authorities began investigating police in 2009 in East Haven, where the federal probe last month documented a pattern of abuse. Latino business owners said rough treatment by police drove many newcomers from Mexico and Ecuador to leave the city.

    The arrests were welcomed by Hispanic business owners in East Haven, including Luis Rodriguez, an immigrant from Ecuador who had complained of harassment by police at his Los Amigos Grocery store.

    "They should have to pay, not with many years, but enough to make an example of them. They should not abuse their power," Rodriguez said. "All I ever wanted was to be left in peace."

    Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller, president of the police union, are charged with conspiracy, deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice.

    Federal officials say the officers denied Latino residents and their advocates the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to not be arrested and detained without probable cause and the right to not be arrested on false and misleading evidence.

    Miller repeatedly slapped a man handcuffed in his car, while Spaulding threw a man to the ground and repeatedly kicked him while he was handcuffed, according to the indictment. Mayor Joseph Maturo said the four men were arrested around 6 a.m. Tuesday at their homes and at the police department.

    Donald Cretella, Miller's lawyer, said his client has been honored with awards and risked his life in shootouts.

    "John Miller is a hero in East Haven," he said. "He's decorated. He's a wonderful family man. Hopefully, we'll clear his name."

    Frank Riccio Jr., Spaulding's attorney, said his client is an exemplary police officer.

    "At this early stage, it's our position Mr. Spaulding is not guilty of the charges. He's been nothing but an exemplary police officer. That's why this is shocking."

    The indictment says Miller reported to a police department leader described as a co-conspirator who blocked efforts by the police commission to investigate Miller's misconduct. That is a reference to Chief Leonard Gallo, according to a person with direct knowledge who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. A message was left for Gallo.

    The indictment also accuses unnamed union leaders of intimidation and interference to protect the officers from investigations of their misconduct.

    The U.S. attorney's office said no more arrests were expected Tuesday.

    Maturo, a Republican who took office Nov. 19, recently reinstated Gallo as police chief. Gallo had been on paid administrative leave since federal authorities began investigating in 2010. Maturo said he backs the police.

    "I stand behind the police department," he said. "We have a great police department."

    The U.S. Department of Justice said last month that the police department engaged in a pattern of discrimination against Latino residents. Investigators said their probe was complicated by efforts to interfere with witnesses and by police silence.

    Nearly half or a third of the drivers pulled over by certain officers were Latino, and the number of Latinos pulled over by certain squads was "extraordinarily high," said Roy Austin Jr., deputy assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. Latinos who were stopped for minor violations were subjected to harsher punishments, such as arrest or vehicle towing, than were non-Latinos.

    The East Haven Police Department of some 50 officers has come under scrutiny previously for civil rights issues. A federal jury ruled in 2003 that a white officer used excessive force and violated the rights of a black man he fatally shot after a chase.

    Some officers involved in that case kept their jobs and were promoted, and there was no evidence that anyone received training to prevent similar confrontations in the future, Austin said.

    Source: FBI arrests 4 officers on rights abuse charges |
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  2. #2
    Junior Member legalus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    East Haven is adjacent to New Haven, one of two sanctuary cities in CT.

    Can't blame the sane and law abiding citizens in East Haven for not wanting the
    protected illegals in New Haven from sucking off of their community and becoming
    annexed by New Haven.
    I can certainly see the officers of law enforcement getting frustrated when the Gov. Atty General,
    and two Mayors (New Haven and Hartford) illegally have created a sanctuary for illegals despite the
    Federal laws that forbid them to do so. Why does'nt the FBI investigate the violations of national
    sovereignty and national security that these government officials have perpetrated?

    Oh yeah, the FBI are just following the orders of the President, Attorney General, and Homeland Security
    and exercising prosecutorial discretion. Well if these fine examples of law enforcement in the U.S. can
    bend and massage the laws or even ignore them with impunity then why should'nt local law enforcement
    be able to do the same to protect the life and property within their communities as they see fit?

    Again, why should the residents of East Haven not be able to prevent the problems of New Haven from
    spilling over into their jurisdiction?

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Department of Justice
    Office of Public Affairs
    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Four East Haven, Connecticut, Police Officers Charged with Civil Rights Offenses

    WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport, Conn., returned an indictment charging four East Haven Police officers with conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of members of the East Haven community. This morning, Sergeant John Miller and Officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo were arrested without incident. The indictment was unsealed today.

    According to allegations contained in the indictment, from approximately 2007 through 2011, Miller, Cari, Spaulding and Zullo, while acting under color of law, conspired to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate various members of the East Haven community in violation of their constitutional rights.

    The indictment alleges that Miller and others maintained and perpetuated an environment in which the use of unreasonable force and unreasonable searches and seizures was tolerated and encouraged. It is alleged that Cari, Spaulding and Zullo engaged in unreasonable searches and seizures, including unlawful searches of premises and arrests of individuals without probable cause or based on false and misleading information, and that Miller, Spaulding, Zullo and another officer used unreasonable force during lawful and unlawful arrests.

    It is alleged that this unreasonable force was used when victims were unarmed, neither resisting nor interfering with the police, but rather securely under the control of the police or otherwise cooperative. In some cases, the victims were handcuffed with their hands behind their backs when officers assaulted them. Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable because they were undocumented aliens or otherwise marginalized, having little perceived standing in the community, and thus unlikely to raise objection to the abuse.

    The indictment further alleges that Spaulding and Zullo intimidated, harassed and humiliated members of the Latino community and their advocates. Spaulding and Zullo also allegedly conducted unreasonable and illegal searches at Latino-owned businesses, and Spaulding allegedly intimidated and harassed advocates who worked to defend the rights of members of the Latino community.

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

    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 other 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 are charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison 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 sentence of 10 years in prison 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 sentence of one year in prison 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 count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

    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.

    This matter is being investigated by the Civil Rights Squad of the FBI’s New York Field Office. New York FBI Special Operation teams, including its SWAT Team, assisted with today’s arrests. Deputy U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna R. Patel are prosecuting the case with assistance from the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division.

    12-092 Civil Rights Division

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