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Connecticut’s sacred cows a target as new columnists debut this week

24 Sep

Susan Campbell will kick off a new daily lineup of featured news columnists when The Register Citizen and The Middletown Press unveil redesigned print editionson Wednesday. And no topic is off the table.

Susan Campbell (Photo by Chion Wolf/WNPR)

Campbell developed a strong reputation in her years as a reporter and columnist at the Hartford Courant for seeking to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” As a new weekly columnist for our daily newspapers in Torrington, Middletown and New Haven, she’ll have free rein to go after the things she feels are harming Connecticut politics and society and to celebrate some of the bright spots.

Her debut column tackles “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” and what she sees as the religious right’s increasingly militant attempt to enlist congregations in political activism.

Campbell will be followed on page 3 and online each day by similarly strong voices.

Norm Pattis (Photo by Arnold Gold/New Haven Register)

Always outspoken and frequently controversial Connecticut defense attorney Norm Pattis will write on Thursdays, and doesn’t hold back in his debut column about Antonin Scalia and his “originalism” philosophy of interpreting the Constitution, calling it an “ideological hoax.”

The work of Terry Cowgill, a familiar face to The Register Citizen’s readers in Northwest Connecticut, will be featured on Fridays.

Columns by Sarah Darer Littman, a novelist and former securities analyst, and Heath Fahle, policy director for the Yankee Institute and former executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, will alternate on Saturdays.

Ann DeMatteo, newly named managing editor of The Middletown Press, who as a cancer survivor shares others’ stories of inspiration and overcoming adversity, will write on Sundays.

Susan Bigelow, a librarian, author and former operator of the CT Local Politics website, will write on Mondays.

And Andy Thibault, a former Hartford Courant and Register Citizen editor, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission member and investigative reporter, will write on Tuesdays.

The addition of Cowgill, Littman, Fahle and Bigelow are part of an expansion of our partnership with CTNewsJunkie.Com. Since March, we’ve carried its excellent coverage of Connecticut state government and politics, and are happy to be extending that relationship now to their team of columnists.

East Haven reader: A guide to coverage, commentary on police scandal

29 Jan

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr., apologizes in his office at East Haven Town Hall January 25 for his statement concerning tacos from the previous day. Photo by Arnold Gold/New Haven Register

So much has been written about racial profiling in East Haven and the problems with the police department and mayor that I thought it would be a good idea to link to key articles and columns from the past month.

But first, the story from the New Haven Independent that started it all. Paul Bass and team have not gotten enough credit from us for breaking the news of the video that showed East Haven police lied about their arrest of Father James Manship.

Tuesday, January 31

FBI probe widens: Mayor, top aide, ex-zoning chairman, school maintenance chief investigated, New Haven Register

“While the federal investigation that resulted in the arrest of four police officers last week centers on alleged police profiling and harassment of Latinos, investigators have asked questions about officials in other ends of government — including Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr.’s office.”

Monday, January 30

East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo retires amid federal probe of department, New Haven Register

“Mayor Joseph Maturo told an 11 a.m. Town Hall press conference packed with local, regional and national media that the decision, which Gallo informed him of on Friday, was ‘a selfless act designed to assist in the healing process’ with the Latino community, some of whom East Haven police are accused of mistreating.”

Main Street celebrates Gallo’s departure, New Haven Independent

“East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo’s retirement launches a new chapter in the saga of a New Haven exile as well as of a white-majority town’s resistance to change, infused with echoes of mid-20th century standoffs between southern communities and the federal government. The news also brought smiles to Guti’z Bakery.”

East Haven police chief resigns; Commissioners want him fired, Hartford Courant

“Maturo said he will put together a search committee for a new chief, which will begin its work immediately. The new chief will have to “restructure the department, implement reforms and work with the community,” he said. He named deputy chief John Mannion to head the department on an interim basis.”

East Haven residents react to Gallo’s retirement, Hartford Courant

“East Haven police Chief Len Gallo’s decision to retire has exposed a wide rift in this seaside town.”

Police chief in investigation of anti-Latino bias is retiring, Los Angeles Times

“‘The poison begins at the top more often than not when leaders of these towns take after immigrants,’ said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes nationwide. With census figures predicting that non-Latino whites will lose their majority in the United States by 2050, Potok said there was an ‘enormous level of rage and resentment’ in some towns with fast-growing immigrant communities, such as East Haven.”

East Haven police chief retiring after charges for officers, New York Times

“Chief Gallo ‘cultivated a racist and dishonest police force,’ said the Rev. James Manship, a priest at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, whose efforts to document police behavior helped prompt the federal investigation. Father Manship called for the local prosecutor, Michael Dearington, to review the convictions of people who had been arrested by the four indicted officers, and to seek to vacate those convictions that were ‘tainted by racial bias or other unconstitutional conduct.’”

Opinion: East Haven police troubles go deeper than mayor’s ‘taco’ comment, CNN

“This history of abuse and marginalization will not be remedied by after-the-fact apologies or a public relations campaign. It is actions – not words – that need to change in East Haven. Gallo’s resignation was necessary, but it is not enough. The allegations documented in the criminal indictments, the civil rights lawsuit that Father Manship and Latino residents have filed, and the Department of Justice report make it abundantly clear: nothing short of a top-to-bottom overhaul can fix the East Haven Police Department.”

Online petition calling on East Haven mayor to oust police chief supported by 15,000 people, New Haven Register

“An online petition calling for Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. to immediately replace Police Chief Leonard Gallo and “send a message that racial profiling won’t be tolerated” had almost 15,000 signatures as of Sunday evening.”

Sunday, January 29

Maturo confronts East Haven controversy, says he will lead town through it, New Haven Register

“Maturo said he already had taken some steps to address the town’s problems, including forming a new committee, the Law Enforcement Advisory Resource Network, to address criticism and usher in change at the Police Department, and would be reaching out to East Haven’s Latino community “soon,” although he did not say when or how.”

Opinions vary on how East Haven can redeem itself, New Haven Register

“… the Rev. James Manship, the pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven who was arrested by East Haven officers a few years ago while trying to document alleged incidents of profiling of Latinos, says, ‘The mayor’s inability to recognize there’s a problem continues to be an obstacle to moving forward on this.’”

Coming to America: Mistreatment of immigrants is nothing new, New Haven Register

“Part of the way Italians, Irish and other Europeans would deal with the bias against newcomers was to “define themselves as white … to find common cause against African Americans and Latinos.” … The lack of a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the country also further isolates this group.”

SUSAN CAMPBELL: East Haven changed  – no one told the mayor, Hartford Courant

“It’s time to go. Take the police chief with you, and reintroduce yourself to the (changed) town you grew up in. Start with Guti’z Bakery. The bakery is owned by a family from Ecuador. They don’t serve tacos, but the empanadas will melt in your mouth.”

COLIN McENROE: Mayor’s gaffe pales next to police conduct, Hartford Courant

“I’m probably “too sensitive,” but using “racial profiling” to cover this sickening stew of unreasonable force, false arrest, intimidation and cover-up is like citing Nero for fire code violations.”

East Haven Chief: From street cop to dog pound to center of federal probe, Hartford Courant

“When Len Gallo became the chief of the East Haven police in the summer of 1998, the department was in trouble over race relations and the embattled mayor was Joe Maturo. Sound familiar? Fourteen years later, he is at the center of a federal probe into civil rights abuses and his tenure has proved a source of bafflement even to people who are generally supportive of police. Gallo is the unnamed co-conspirator in last week’s federal indictment of four officers, his lawyer has acknowledged.”

Saturday, January 28

MATT DeRIENZO: Latinos are all from one country, right? More ignorance from East Haven Mayor Maturo, New Haven Register

“Whether he’s racist, arrogant, ignorant, stupid, or all of the above, Joseph Maturo Jr. should not be overseeing a department that carries guns and has the power to arrest and detain people who live in or travel through East Haven. And he has proven by his words and actions so far that he is not capable of overseeing reform of that department.”

Friday, January 27

Former Connecticut official says FBI did investigate ‘taco’ mayor and others, WPIX

“On Thursday, PIX 11 reported exclusively that the Feds have been asking about the business relationship between Mayor Maturo and his close friend Chief Gallo.”

East Haven bakery donating 700 cupcakes to show town’s sweeter side, New Haven Register

“East Haven’s secret weapon in the battle for public opinion and to restore the town’s good name — the nationally-celebrated “Cupcake Wars” champion Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shoppe — launched the sweetest sort of counter-offensive today. … Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, it will donate 500 cupcakes in the community’s name to a Greater New Haven charitable organization that benefits children.”

East Haven police not using staff contingency plan yet, but officers worried, New Haven Register

“Down four more officers as of Tuesday’s arrests, the Police Department is continuing to cover its shifts, but individual officers — who have complained for months that morale has never been lower — are worn out, sources say. Board of Police Commissioners Chairman Fred Brow and others have said that more arrests are likely — with some estimates, however speculative, ranging as high as 15 possible arrests.”

With trays of tacos, joining in condemnation of a mayor, New York Times

“In East Haven, Connecticut, the menu on Thursday, not surprisingly, was tacos, and perhaps crow, in an episode featuring both allegations of serious civil rights violations and goofy Twitter fodder.”

Thursday, January 26

EDITORIAL: An Outrage in East Haven, New York Times

“Mayor Maturo should now resign. He has shown a stunning incapacity for understanding the severity of the scandal in his government and has been fatally compromised by his knee-jerk support for the tainted police department and its chief. The mayor’s repugnant remark is the least of it. This case is about institutional brutality and oppression.”

Taco protest in East Haven: ‘Disgust’ delivered to Town Hall over Maturo’s comments, New Haven Register

“An extra, extra large order of tacos arrived at Town Hall Thursday afternoon for an absent Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr., but soon was taken to an area soup kitchen as a donation. Reform Immigration for America, an advocacy group, sent about 500 tacos in disposable foil trays to protest Maturo’s now infamous “taco” comment.”

Immigration reform group delivers hundreds of tacos to East Haven mayor, Hartford Courant

“‘Hopefully you know now that your comments have only heightened the racial tensions and help to explain how the kind of racial intolerance uncovered by the United States Department of Justice was allowed to take hold of the East Havenpolice department,’ said Latrina Kelly of Junta For Progressive Action. They read statements in English and Spanish.”

Fourth accused East Haven cop makes bail, monitoring device considered, New Haven Register

“Zullo has been charged with five counts of excessive force and one count of conspiracy against rights. He was arrested Tuesday morning with union President Sgt. John Miller and Officers Dennis Spaulding and David Cari following a lengthy federal investigation into allegations of profiling and using excessive force against Latinos, as well as making false arrests. All four now are on administrative leave from the Police Department, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel.”

East Haven mayor’s ‘taco’ comment furthers stereotype, some residents say, New Haven Register

“The comment furthers a stereotype, some said, that associates all Spanish-speaking people with tacos. Some residents called Maturo’s words ‘inappropriate,’ but a couple of others felt too much is being made of the response.”

She has a taco, and an American tale, for Joe, New Haven Independent

“After East Haven’s mayor’s words made her cry, Reyna Catalán invited him to Middletown Avenue to try her tacos—and witness the sacrifice immigrants make.”

After charges of Latino abuse, anger shifts to a mayor for his ‘taco’ remark, New York Times

“For more than a decade they have been joined at the hip, the police chief with an old-school, tough-guy reputation and the mayor who resurrected the officer’s flagging career, made him his chief and then stood by him at every turn.”

CHRIS POWELL: Wrong apology sought from East Haven mayor, Journal Inquirer

“Rushing to condemn East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. for political incorrectness or insensitivity, his critics have let him get away with a real offense: his complicity in the perjury committed by his town’s police officers.”

SARAH DARER LITTMAN: When in doubt, blame the media, CT News Junkie

“Hate to break this to you, Mr. Mayor, but we reporters don’t to need to twist it or turn it at all to make you sound like a low-IQ bigot. Your words speak for themselves without any editing whatsoever. Let’s just roll the tape.”

SISTER MARY ELLEN BURNS: East Haven mayor failing Latino constituents, Hartford Courant

“The Latino population of greater New Haven, East Haven included, is very diverse, with representatives from 18 countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as Puerto Rico. Latinos are diverse in their immigration status (from the undocumented to the third-generation American), in their levels of education, professions, families — just the way every other hyphenated-American group is. And they don’t all eat tacos.”

Wednesday, January 25

MATT DeRIENZO: East Haven mayor’s racism an embarrassment to Connecticut, Italian community, New Haven Register

“Let’s not mince words. The thin translation of Maturo’s taco comment is, ‘I am a full human being and you are less than one.’ If you don’t look like me, if I don’t understand the language you speak; if your customs are not my customs, you are not a member of this community. THAT is what Maturo was saying.”

RICK GREEN: Dumb ‘tacos’ remark distracts from deeper worries in East Haven, Hartford Courant

“Certainly, things are far worse than Maturo’s flippantly distasteful ‘I might have tacos’ comment to a reporter who had asked what he was doing for the Latino community. One Ecuadorean business owner told me of routine harassment of customers who are afraid to leave their homes because of local police.”

EDITORIAL: The Mayor Is An Idiot: Joseph Maturo ‘tacos’ comment is insensitive, inappropriate, Hartford Courant

“Mr. Maturo doesn’t speak for Italian Americans, most East Haven residents or state residents, but he managed to embarrass all of us. His pathetic attempt at an apology doesn’t wash. He ought to resign.”

EDITORIAL: Maturo says all the wrong things, New Haven Register

“How can things get better with Maturo saying, ‘I don’t believe we racially profile?’ How can things get better, if he minimizes the alleged misconduct by contending that there is a ‘very small segment of Latinos in town,’ or by expressing his concern about their treatment with the quip, ‘I might have a taco when I go home tonight?’”

Grand jury probes Gallo and evidence tampering, New Haven Independent

“First Lennie Gallo, an aspiring New Haven top cop, was exiled to the animal shelter when his boss said he couldn’t be trusted with humans. He reemerged as next-door East Haven’s chief—and now the center of a federal probe into alleged evidence-tampering that goes beyond harassing Latinos.”

Civil Rights Coalition presses for stronger profiling prohibition, New Haven Register

“What happened in East Haven, where Sgt. John MIller and officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo were arrested Tuesday in pre-dawn FBI raids,’is not an anomaly,’ said Hartford City Councilman Louis Cotto, citing historic fears that many of his Hartford constituents have of driving through parts of Avon, Glastonbury and Manchester.”

Amid growing criticism, Maturo apologizes for ‘taco’ comment, New Haven Register

“My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-collar comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz yesterday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department. Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example.”

NAACP says it’s ‘appalled but not surprised’ by Maturo’s comments, New Haven Register

“The history of East Haven leadership be it from the Mayor’s office or those they have hired to suppress the rights of minorities goes back decades with the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP. The most egregious case being the loss of life of Malik Jones in 1997 where a federal grand jury ultimately found the town of East Haven and their Police Department guilty of his wrongful death. Indeed over the last few decades there is no town that we have had more issues with relative to racial profiling, the lack of minorities in any civil service and in any leadership positions.”

East Haven mayor’s ‘taco’ comment draws media criticism, CT News Junkie

“’They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable.  Being tired is no excuse,’ said Gov. Dannell Malloy. ‘He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he’s going to do to repair the damage he’s done.  And he needs to do it today.’”

ALFONSO ROBINSON: Look out, Mark Boughton … you have competition, Connecticut Post

“Look out Mark Boughton! When it comes to your well-deserved title as the state’s most racially insensitive mayor, it looks like you have competition from East Haven.

East Haven mayor appealing to keep his disability pension, Yankee Institute

“East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr., who has been in the center of the news after the arrest of four East Haven police officers by federal investigators and ensuing inflammatory comments, is appealing a decision by the State Employee Retirement Commission to end his disability pension. Maturo received a pension for $40,113 in 2009, according to CTSunlight.”

Tuesday, January 24

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo says he ‘might have tacos’ for Latino community, New Haven Register

“Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. was caught on camera Tuesday in what he called a “gotcha moment” when a New York TV reporter asked him what he was doing for Latinos Tuesday night. ‘I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet,’ Maturo told the WPIX reporter.”

‘Cancerous Cadre:’ FBI arrests four East Haven cops in profiling probe; chief not charged, but labeled ‘co-conspirator,’ New Haven Register

“The FBI arrested four police officers just before dawn Tuesday morning, alleging a conspiracy that one official called ‘a cancerous cadre’ of ‘bullies with badges’ to deprive some residents, particularly Latinos, of their constitutional rights.”

FBI: Four arrested police officers were ‘bullies with badges,’ Hartford Courant

“They were known as ‘Miller’s boys,’ a small group of East Havenofficers on the 4-to-midnight shift arrested Tuesday following a long federal investigation and charged with terrorizing Latinos who dared enter the town’s borders.”

Police gang tyrannized Latinos, indictment says, New York Times

“They stopped and detained people, particularly immigrants, without reason, federal prosecutors said, sometimes slapping, hitting or kicking them when they were handcuffed, and once smashing a man’s head into a wall. They followed and arrested residents, including a local priest, who tried to document their behavior. They rooted through stores looking for damning security videotapes of how they had treated some of their targets, described by one of them on a police radio as having ‘drifted to this country on rafts made of chicken wings.’”

Two arrested East Haven officers ordered to stay out of town, New Haven Register

“During the proceedings, Patel also announced that prosecutors learned a new message was found on a union bulletin board at the Police Department Tuesday that was similar to other allegedly threatening messages and cartoons that had previously been posted and are detailed in the indictment. According to Patel, the message said ‘not to speak and to be a team player.’ She added that Miller, as union president, is the only person with a key to change the board.”

Other Connecticut cops worry they’ll be viewed the same, New Haven Register

“There’s a lot of diversity in the department. There’s a lot of diversity in the city, and I think that helps eliminate racial profiling. East Haven doesn’t have that.”

East Haven police profiling case timeline, New Haven Register

View a timeline of the East Haven Police racial profiling case below, beginning with the arrest of Rev. James Manship in February 2009. Click on a bubble to read more on that item.

JOE AMARANTE: Whether cops are guilty or innocent, a changing East Haven must deal with perceptions, New Haven Register

“The federal indictment alleges a conspiracy from 2007 through 2011 ‘to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate,’ but it was the video moment with Manship — sparking an arrest that was later dismissed in court — when simmering social pressures reached a boiling point that continued to spill over and singe the town’s reputation.”

Monday, January 23

East Haven police policies manual from another era: Outdated guidelines lack equality for women officers, New Haven Register

“The manual’s section on ‘policewomen’ says female officers ‘shall patrol public places and streets and inspect all places of commercial recreation, including dance halls, skating rinks, theaters and all other places that may be frequented by women and girls…’ It adds that ‘a Policewoman shall not engage in work for or with any male member of the Department except when directed to do so by a superior officer or when the emergencies of police business so require.’”

Sunday, January 22

At heart of discrimination case, priest takes fight to police, Hartford Courant

“The self-proclaimed ‘French-Canadian, kind of Yankee Catholic’ pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Havenhas stuck his collar out more than once for his overwhelmingly Latino congregation, which includes many undocumented immigrants.”

Saturday, January 21

When enforcing undocumented workers law, one police department dominates, Hartford Courant

“Dealing with immigration law is primarily a federal issue, but over the past 10 years local police departments have issued 14 tickets under an obscure state statute that prohibits businesses from employing someone who is in the country illegally. Half of those citations have been issued in East Haven, almost all of them by two officers currently under a federal investigation probing charges of racial discrimination within the department.”

Thursday, January 19

Lawyer grilled in Malik Jones appeal, New Haven Independent

“As three federal judges weighed the death of Malik Jones at the hands of an East Haven cop, they zeroed in on the significance of shots fired at another young black man, six years earlier, by the same cop.”

Monday, January 16

EDITORIAL: Fix state’s racial profiling law, New Haven Register

“East Haven was one of the towns that ignored the law until the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation began in 2009. The federal analysis of two years of East Haven traffic stops found that 19.9 percent of those stopped were Hispanics, although only 11.1 percent of drivers in the town and adjoining census tracts are Hispanic.”

Wednesday, January 11

Motion seeks to drop third East Haven cop from civil rights lawsuit, New Haven Register

“A third East Haven police officer would be dropped from the pending federal civil rights lawsuit accusing 12 East Haven police officers of mistreating Latinos, and claims relating to a defendant who now wants to withdraw from the case would be dropped against a fourth officer, according to a recently-filed court document.”

Wednesday, January 4

Latino legislators call for more aggressive enforcement of anti-profiling law, cite East Haven, New Haven Register

“’The situation in East Haven could have been addressed more easily and with less effort on behalf of the (U.S.) Justice Department with proper collection and disclosure of motorist data by Connecticut law enforcement agencies,’ said state Rep. Kelvin Roldan, D-Hartford.”

Racial profiling law ignored for a decade, CT Mirror

“Only 27 police departments consistently file annual reports required by state law to show whether minorities are targeted in traffic stops — not that it would matter if more departments complied. No one has analyzed the limited data that is filed since 2001.”

Tuesday, January 3

East Haven plans panel to help implement police department changes, New Haven Register

“Maturo formed the Law Enforcement Advisory Resource Network last week to guide the department in following recommendations in the Police Executive Research Forum’s report and those made by the Department of Justice. The DOJ recently said members of the department have engaged in racial profiling and mistreatment of Latinos and issued a list of changes it deems necessary for the force.”

Monday, January 2

DUI arrest brings new federal probe into East Haven Police Department, New Haven Register

“Federal investigators are looking into an incident in which the son-in-law of the former acting police chief, Inspector Gaetano Nappi, was arrested on drunken driving charges Dec. 17, sources said.”

Sunday, January 1

And the Register Person of the Year is: The Rev. James Manship of New Haven’s St. Rose Church, New Haven Register

“Five years ago, when an increasing number of teens at St. Rose’s Church wanted to go to college, but feared their undocumented status and lack of financial resources made that impossible, they turned to the Rev. James Manship for help.”

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