NPR logo Connecticut Police Chief Retiring As FBI Probes Police Harassment Case


Connecticut Police Chief Retiring As FBI Probes Police Harassment Case

The police chief of East Haven, Conn. will leave his job this Friday as federal agents investigate whether his agency attacked and intimidated Latino residents. Last week, the FBI arrested four police officers and charged them with assaults, false arrests and intimidation of Latinos and Latino businesses in East Haven. The city's mayor inflamed the situation by remarking that to improve relations with the city's Latino community, he'd have tacos for dinner.

Now East Haven police chief Len Gallo is leaving his job, and his actions in the alleged discrimination case are getting new attention, says Reuters. Gallo's attorney announced today his client is an unnamed co-conspirator in the federal indictment against the four East Haven officers charged with abuse.

Gallo has not been charged with a crime. The indictment describes a "Co-Conspirator-1" who's a leader in the city's police department; this leader and others allegedly "took steps to strongly discourage and even to threaten fellow officers and other witnesses" who might help investigators looking into racial abuse complaints about East Haven police.

Gallo's attorney told the Hartford Courant his client could still be charged by federal officials. He's also a defendant in a civil lawsuit about the East Haven police department's behavior.

Gallo wasn't present at Mayor Joseph Maturo's news conference today announcing the development; the mayor says a search for the chief's replacement is underway, according to CNN.

Some Latino activists would like the mayor to quit as well. Following his taco quip last week, Maturo apologized last Wednesday for his handling of the police bias news but some people weren't mollified by his regret. Hundreds of tacos were delivered to his office the following day in protest, while opponents and supporters alike flooded his office with phone calls, according to AP.