East Haven, Connecticut Under FBI Investigation
For Running Hispanics Out Of Town
27 Dec 2010
An FBI investigation is under way and a police chief is on paid administrative leave in the predominantly wealthy, Italian-American, seaside town of East Haven, Connecticut where the police force is accused of systematically running Hispanics out of town through harassing and beating them. One East Haven veteran probation officer of Puerto Rican descent, Santiago Malave, says he and his wife are moving because they can't drive across town without fear of being harassed.
Luis Rodriguez, who owns the Los Amigos Grocery, (pictured above), said he was jailed for five days after a woman pointed out to police that his three-year-old son was unsupervised on the pavement outside his store. This occurred after Rodriguez's wife began videotaping police who were sitting outside his store, arresting Rodriguez's Hispanic customers as they left. Rodriguez was charged with child neglect and that case is still pending. Rodriguez, who has invested over $120, 000 in the grocery store, says he never would have if he would have known the cops were going to deter potential customers from coming to town. According to him, the police officers threatened his customers with calling immigration if they were found in East Haven. Forbes reports that Los Amigos Grocery Store is now up for sale because Rodriguez cannot sustain his business.
In perhaps the most high profile incident, on February 19, 2009, a local priest, Father James Manship, began videotaping what appeared to be East Haven Police harassing Rodriguez for his collection of antique and out-of-date license plates he had displayed inside the store. Father James was arrested for videotaping–an activity that is not against the law. The arrest was covered by the local press and was the incident that incited four local Hispanic business people to file official complaints about the situation they say has been an ongoing policy. Though it was only two weeks ago that East Haven Mayor April Capone alerted the press to the federal investigation, in April of 2009, the New Haven Independent reported that just days after the Father James story broke and Hispanic business owners filed an official complaint about the police, they were visited by a Massachusetts-based hate group called North East White Pride (NEWP).
According to the New Haven Independent, Rodriguez said that a large white van pulled up to his grocery store on Saturday night, February 23, 2009. Men in army fatigues got out and deposited individually wrapped flyers to his doorstep.
"They send their children to school without immunization and expose your children to this. They work in restaurants and expose you as well," says one flyer.
"Immigration or INVASION?" reads one flyer. "They come for welfare or to take our jobs and bring with them drugs, crime and disease."
"Wake up America! We are being attacked!" warns another.
Illegal immigrants are causing a rise in crime, the flyers say, as gang members move into the U.S. from Latin America. "The shocking crimes committed by these illegal gangsters include organized crimes such as theft of prescription drugs from pharmacies, black market gun sales, assaults against police officers and witnesses, assassinations, and human trafficking."
The flyers call for the deportation of all illegal immigrants.
What's interesting is that the mayor says only certain members of the police force are being investigated and not the entire force, although Hispanic citizens seem to feel the problem is so widespread they can't walk out their doors without being harassed. The situation is further complicated by the fact that apparently East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo, the one who was placed on paid administrative leave, and East Haven Mayor April Capone do not get along. Gallo claims the allegations against the force are false and that this is simply a case of "politics."
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