Members of East Haven’s Latino community have submitted a complaint to the U. S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into allegations of race- based violence, harassment and intimidation by local police.
The complaint includes the stories of more than twenty Latino shopkeepers and residents…many of whom are members of St. Rose of Lima Church. They describe a pattern of racial profiling, including allegations that East Haven police officers used violence against Latinos taken into custody within earshot of on-duty supervisors. It also documents frequent race-based traffic stops, where officers have allegedly used racial insults.
Yale Law School’s Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization submitted the complaint on behalf of St. Rose of Lima church and the Latino community. Valarie Kaur is a Yale Law student intern. "Since late January we’ve been meeting in the basement of St. Rose Church collecting stories. People are so afraid. Every time someone has spoken out or even complained to the police department they’ve been met with either silence or retaliation"
WNPR was unable to reach East Haven Police Chief Len Gallo for comment. But at a community meeting earlier this week Gallo said he’s dialoguing with the Latino community. "My response is to listen to everyone in the community and make a fair and impartial judgment. I’m not acknowledging a problem one way or another. I’m saying that if there’s something broken, we in the police commission and chief will help fix it".
The complaint was submitted to the Special Litigation and Criminal Sections of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.