East Haven Taco Mayor’s Press Conference for Latino Expo Gets Testy and Confrontational

Yesterday, as reported by the New Haven Register, East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, known on the Internet as the "Taco Mayor," got an unpleasant and confrontational reception during his announcement of a Latino expo.

“This is an opportunity to reach out to him because he’s been hiding from the office. He’s been telling us that the doors are open, which is not true because every time we go and we ask for the mayor, the secretary says, ‘Oh, he’s not available,’” audience member Milena Quinto told Maturo and Deb Gould, founder and organizer of the 12th annual Latino Expo, as they stood on the school auditorium’s stage.

“My door is always open. Do we have any other questions?” Maturo responded, before adding, “If you give me your name and number I can call you up when I get back to the office. May I have your name and number? Address? Anything? I’ll call you! I’ll come over your house!”

Here is a video of the report.

By The Time I Get to Arizona… I Will Get Stopped in Connecticut

In 2010 I was racially profiled and it wasn't in Arizona. I was living in Connecticut at the time (yes, the same state where East Haven police officers were arrested for harassing Latinos) and on my way to work with a friend. As we approached the exit, we were stopped by a state police officer. He told us we were driving erratic and speeding, which we weren't, but ok, "just give us the ticket so we can be on our way" we thought. 

After giving the officer proper identification according to Connecticut state law, he then asked us for our social security cards. We were highly upset and surprised but kept our composure and refused, stating our identification cards were sufficient enough and we were unaware of any law requiring us to show social security cards as proof of identification.

Again, this happened in the state of Connecticut. I can only imagine the fear that Latinos in Arizona go through daily because of SB 1070.

Many people feel, because they are American citizens, that they will never go through this type of profiling, but I am here to let you know that your skin color, your political belief or your approval of SB 1070 will not save you. Being Latino in this country has its problems. Still. 

I challenge anyone who believes this law does not profile Latinos to study the police training video for SB-1070 and see how "reasonable subscription" is defined under the Arizona law. 

Click here to see the video.

Al Jazeera English Reports: “Racial Profiling on the Rise in the US”

Taco Mayor aside, the real issue in East Haven, Connecticut is all about racial profiling, which is a growing trend in the United States.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Here is a report from Al Jazeera English.

New Report by @DemocracyNow Says ICE Initiated Racial Profiling Case of East Haven Police

The East Haven racial profiling case, which has been overshadow by taco comments and a resignation by the town's Police Chief, continues to get more complex, as the following Democracy Now report reveals.

The report states that members of the East Haven police were not only racial profiling Latinos, they were working with ICE to deport the people the East Haven police were arresting. From Democracy Now's YouTube:

A new investigation by Colorlines.com has revealed that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continued to detain and deport individuals rounded up by the East Haven Police Department in Connecticut, even after the Department of Justice launched its investigation into racial profiling. Four East Haven police officers have been arrested for targeting Latino immigrants with false arrests and reports, and harassment — prompting the East Haven police chief to resign. We're joined by Seth Freed Wessler, a senior research associate at the Applied Research Center and an investigative reporter for Colorlines.com. East Haven "has a long history of profiling people of color," Freed Wessler says. "Folks of color in the greater New Haven area know not to drive through East Haven, Connecticut: you're going to get pulled over if you're black or Latino." 

To watch the complete daily, independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for the additional Democracy Now! reports on this issue, visit DemocracyNow.org

Pro-Immigrant GOP Group Calls on Taco Mayor to Resign

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.

yours truly,

Bob Quasius

Bob Quasius, Sr.


Cafe Con Leche Republicans

Cell: 507-401-0694



El Caucus Nacional Hispano de Legisladores Estatales pide una investigación del Alcalde Maturo, Jr.

El Caucus Nacional Hispano de Legisladores Estatales pide

una investigación del Alcalde Maturo, Jr.,

ante la dimisión del Jefe de Policía de East Haven


WASHINGTON, 31 de enero de 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Luego de una intensa presión por parte de la comunidad latina y organizaciones de derechos civiles nacionales, el Jefe de Policía de East Haven, Len Gallo, anunció su dimisión durante una conferencia de prensa el lunes en la mañana después de que una investigación federal llevó a la detención de cuatro efectivos policiales por abuso de residentes latinos.

La acusación federal de la semana pasada señala al Jefe Len Gallo como co-conspirador no nombrado de la etiquetación racial en la comunidad; sin embargo, instamos a que se centre la atención también en el Alcalde Joseph Maturo, Jr., por su posible participación y por crear un ambiente que dio lugar a esas violaciones de la ley en contra de familias latinas que respetan las leyes.

"No basta con sacar un pedazo del rompecabezas. La dimisión del Jefe Len Gallo solo desvía la atención de la posible involucramiento del Alcalde Joseph Maturo, Jr. al permitir el hostigamiento por parte de la policía en la comunidad latina. Es más, el permitir que el Alcalde y su administración elijan los miembros del comité encargado de buscar un nuevo Jefe de Policía agrava más la corrupción actual", dijo la Representante Minnie Gonzalez (CT), Presidenta del NHCSL. "Insto firmemente a los investigadores federales a que miren bien al Alcalde y su administración ya que la comunidad de East Haven sigue exigiendo respuestas".

El NHCSL es la asociación nacional preeminente de legisladores estatales hispanos que trabajan para diseñar e implementar políticas y procedimientos que mejoran la calidad de vida de los hispanos en todo el país.

El NHCSL se fundó en 1989 como una organización no partidaria y sin fines de lucro, al amparo del enciso c del artículo 501 del Código de Ingresos estadounidense, con la misión de constituirse en la voz más efectiva para los más de 340 legisladores hispanos. Para más información, visite www.nhcsl.org.

VIDEO: East Haven “Taco” Mayor Joseph Maturo Keeps Talking and Blaming the Media

Looks like East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, who became an Internet star last week for his "taco" comments in light of four police officers arrested for racial profiling by the FBI, is talking again. Now he is getting into discussions of ethnicity and culture.

This video ran in the Connecticut press and Maturo is taking the stance that the media is out to get him. What do you think?

After Racial Profiling Arrests and Mayor’s “Taco” Controversy, East Haven Police Chief Resigns

Reports out of East Haven, CT, the town where four police officers were arrested by the FBI last week for racial profiling Latino residents and where its mayor faced an Internet firestorm for suggesting that he would eat tacos for dinner as a way to reach out to the Latino community, have confirmed that Police Chief Leonard Gallo will has resigned and will leave his post in February.

As reported by The Associated Press, Gallo was previously suspended in April 2010 but returned this the post when his friend and East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo won his election. The Courant also offers a very detailed account of Gallo's retirement.

As Maturo faced an Internet tsunami for his controversial comments last week, calls for Gallo's resignation surfaced, including an online petition that generated over 15,000 signatures.

This is what the originators of the petition, Reform Immigration for America, posted on their site this morning:

Breaking news this morning – Connecticut’s Joe Arpaio is now out of a job. Thanks to more than 15,000 signatures on our petition calling on East Haven, CT Mayor Maturo to fire Chief Gallo, it was announced that Chief Gallo will be stepping down.

This campaign started receiving major attention and support for last week’s text-a-taco action and delivery to Mayor Maturo’s office, but it quickly focused attention on the serious underlying structural problems in the police department of East Haven. Let’s be clear: Chief Gallo resigned because his department had a history of racism and that those issues have not been seriously addressed.

The resignation is a welcome step, but the institutional racism running rampant in East Haven will not be overcome by a single act. We are committed to making sure it becomes a step forward in rebuilding the respect and trust desperately needed between East Haven leadership and the Latino community.

We are committed to holding the mayor and the town’s police department accountable in these next steps. We will be working with our allies at JUNTA for Progressive Action to plan the upcoming community dinner, and we invite the Mayor to use the dinner as an opportunity to begin serious conversations toward a future of greater racial understanding.

It took serious attention and outrage to address a problem that many thought would not be solved. Thank you all for stepping up to the challenge, and demanding the righting of years of wrongs in East Haven — please share this victory far and wide online, as a reminder of the power of immigrant families united!


Embattled East Haven Mayor Tells Local Connecticut TV: “I’ll Be a Better Leader”

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, who this week became known on the Internet as the "Taco Mayor" for comments he made in the wake of four town police officers getting arrested by the FBI for racial profiling, taped an interview yesterday with Hartford's WFSB station where said that he will be a "better leader.'

The original incident that sparked the controversy can be seen here:

Maturo's upcoming interview, part of Dennis House's "State of the State" segment, will run this Sunday morning at 11 EST on Channel 3 in Hartford. House published details of the interview on his blog tonight. Here is an excerpt: 

Embattled East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo says it is time to move on from his taco comment that made headlines across the country. During a taping of Face the State with Dennis House on WFSB, Maturo said  acknowledged what he said was a mistake, but said he had obligation to the town and would not resign.

“I was voted in for my 11th year.  I have an obligation as the leader of our community to do what is right for our community.”

 ”I’m going to be a better leader and we are going to heal.   We are going to make East Haven a great place to live.”

Maturo agreed to come on Face the State this morning and arrived here as an immigration group was delivering 500 tacos to his office. He was followed to our studios by WPIX reporter Mario Diaz, who was interviewing Maturo when the mayor made the infamous taco comment earlier this week. Maturo told me it is time to move on, and when the media continues to air the video of the comment, it hurts the town.

Connecticut Reacts to East Haven “Taco Mayor”

Yes, this story is now national, but as with any story, it is always good to check in on the local angle.

Courant.com offers some good videos about the coverage of East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo's "taco" comments. Too bad Courant.com doesn't have an embed option on their page, since we would be more than happy to embed back to their site. Instead we posted on our YouTube. Here is the video of two news reports: