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

Jan 30, 2012
2:30 PM

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!