EAST HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP)– Less than a week after four of his police officers were arrested on federal charges of violating the civil rights of Latinos, East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo has resigned.
Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said Gallo, 64, informed him of his decision on Jan. 27. Gallo’s retirement will take effect Friday.
“He is retiring from this position for one reason alone, that is his desire not to be a distracting element in East Haven’s efforts to rehabilitate its image,” Gallo’s attorney John Einhorn said.
He insists Gallo’s departure is not an admission of guilt. Einhorn said his client will be vindicated and he does not believe criminal charges would be justified.
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Maturo said Gallo’s decision was a selfless act intended to help the town heal and it will give the embattled police department an opportunity to move forward with new leadership.
Maturo found himself in hot water last week after the police officers were indicted for allegedly assaulting people while handcuffed, unlawfully searching Latino businesses, harassing and intimidating people.
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Gallo’s attorney indicated last week that his client is one of the unnamed co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment.
On the heels of the indictment, a television reporter asked Maturo “What are you doing for the Latino community today?”
“I might have tacos when I go home, I’m not quite sure yet,” replied Maturo. He has since apologized, saying his comment was taken out of context.
Maturo’s quip was widely criticized. Governor Dannel Malloy called Maturo’s comments “repugnant,” adding that it showed “an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable.”
Connecticut’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission called on him to resign. An immigration reform group, Reform Immigration for America, delivered 400 tacos to his Town Hall office in protest. They were turned over to a soup kitchen.
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