Report: Police Racism Against Latinos Uncovered In Connecticut
From Maricopa to Connecticut, this behavior is certainly an indication of how anti-immigrant sentiment has permeated our law enforcement. Precisely the danger associated with anti-immigrant laws like SB1070 and its copycats. Spread the word by SHARING this article.
The feds rolled into East Haven, Ct. to deliver a 23-page report with a harsh message: the local police regularly discriminate against and intimidate Latinos. The mayor of the town, Joseph Maturo, fired back that the report was both “slanderous” and “political.”
After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice slammed the East Haven Police Department on Monday for systemic discrimination against Latinos in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“Discrimination and institutionalized indifference remain deeply rooted in the culture of the Police Department,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy L. Austin Jr. said at a press conference in New Haven, Ct.
The mayor said in an interview with East Haven Patch that they were ambushed by the report, not being informed of the press conference until one hour before it was held.
The DOJ’s report outlines various “patterns” of “biased-profiling” against Latinos which they say provide “reasonable cause to believe that… officers intentionally target Latinos.” Such practices include disproportional targeting for traffic stops, non-standard justifications for stops, “serious incidents of abuse of authority,” as well as a failure to remedy a history of discrimination.
In the report, the DOJ says they found one officer whose record should have been investigated on the basis of racial profiling but wasn’t. Nearly half of those he pulled over were Latino.
Although approximately one in every ten residents of East Haven is Latino, only one of the 50 uniformed officers on the police force is a Spanish speaker. Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population has grown substantially in the small town — from 4.4% to 10.3% of the total population by Census estimates. During the same period, violent crime has decreased and “property crimes have remained relatively constant”, according to the DOJ report.
But Mayor Joseph Maturo said he was “kind of upset” by the report, in part because it lacked specifics regarding individual incidents of misconduct.
“It just gave these broad statements [about things] that I’m not sure exist in our police department,” he said to Patch.
But, Father Jim Manship of St. Rose of Lima Church disagrees. As the central figure in one of the incidents described explicitly in the report, the priest said the DOJ document is proof of something he’s been trying to prove for the past three years.
“To be able to have the report in hand, from a third party, to say, ‘Look we have proof now’ – it’s just really incredible for us,” he said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.
After Manship heard rumors of widespread harassment against members of his largely Latino congregation, he took his video camera to East Haven to document the alleged abuse. The priest captured a video of two officers questioning a local business owner. After Father Manship refused to stop recording the encounter, the police arrested him. They then “falsely reported,” in the words of the federal report, that he thought his camera was a weapon. While the EHPD agreed that the incident took place as the videotape indicates, the DOJ says there was no investigation of the incident or discipline for the officers in question. The charges against Manship were eventually dropped.