For Immediate Release
An Open Letter to East Haven, CT Mayor Joseph Maturo
Dear Mayor Maturo,
When we first heard of your “taco” comments, we were alarmed, then somewhat relieved that at least you apologized.
However, since then you gave another media interview, and again you offended Latinos with your comments and demonstrated that you are tone deaf.
Discriminatory policing in East Haven is not a new phenomenon. East Haven was successfully sued for racial profiling against black motorists, a lawsuit that was lost in 2007, and yet absolutely nothing was done to address the systematic problems – including racial profiling – that led to that lawsuit.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating the East Haven police department in September 2009, and at a conference with town officials in April 2010 the DOJ described serious issues with management, and your predecessor promptly suspended the police chief, an appropriate action given the gravity of the issues and ongoing investigation into serious management issues, including possible serious violations of federal law.
The U.S. DOJ is not the only external entity that has drawn this conclusion either. The Police Executive Research Forum (“PERF”) was hired to audit the East Haven Police, and in March 2011 issued a damning report. From the DOJ letter:
The PERF Report found that EHPD policies “fell well short of best professional practices,” including policies regarding use of force, less lethal weapons, civilian complaints and internal investigations, and an early intervention system. The PERF report emphasized that “many of the current policy directives are outdated” and encouraged EHPD to take action to update them.
During the course of the audit, PERF learned that some EHPD officers ignored the policies that existed. This problem of officers disregarding policies was further complicated by EHPD’s “uneven enforcement of policy infractions and inconsistent application of discipline.”
Additionally, the PERF Report noted that EHPD failed to fund training for its officers in the years immediately preceding the audit. It concluded that lack of reinforcement from training leaves the officers, the public, and the Town at greater risk. Also, after reviewing EHPD’s existing policy for capturing and recording racial profiling data, the auditors found it necessary to develop a Model Racial Profiling Policy for EHPD. Along similar lines, the audit emphasized the need for EHPD officers to “provide the same level of service to all those who live, work, and drive in East Haven. The PERF Report highlighted that EHPD should work to improve relationships with all of the Town’s communities, but placed a particular emphasis on the Latino community.
It’s apparent that town officials – including yourself – have known about serious management and accountability problems for years, and yet you reinstated the police chief before the DOJ completed its investigation!
Sir, it is time for you to resign, and we’d like for you leave the Republican Party as well. The Republican Party is the Party of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ronald Reagan. The 14th amendment, which East Haven police has so egregiously violated for decades, was one of the crowning achievements of our party. Instead of tolerating abuses towards Latinos, particularly immigrants, we should be seeking to engage Latinos. Latinos have twice the rate of business start-ups, in large measure due to the above average levels of ambition of New Americans. PEW Research reports 60% of Latinos are conservative or moderate ideologically, and immigrants are even more conservative. We need more Latinos in the GOP and our party should be attracting Latinos in droves, but your comments and well as those of a small minority of GOP politicians are patently offensive, and instead drive conservative Latinos into the arms of the Democratic Party. Recent surveys show base support for Republicans among Latinos in the 15-20% range, well below expected given the right-center orientation.
I was active in the Republican Party when I lived in Connecticut. Never did I ever hear another Connecticut Republican use such offensive and patronizing language as I saw in your media interviews, and a recent poll shows a majority of Republicans support immigration reform including a path to legalization. You are an embarrassment to our party. Please leave.
Bob Quasius, Sr.