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Weekend March Planned To Highlight Claims Of Racial Profiling In East Haven

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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EAST HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Community organizers in East Haven say they expect hundreds of people to turn out for a weekend march calling attention to allegations of police discrimination toward Latinos.

Four East Haven cops are facing federal charges of discriminating against Latinos

Organizer Herman Zuniga says he expects hundreds of people to join the unity march Saturday morning in East Haven and two buses will bring in marchers from across the town line in New Haven. He says organizers have met with police three times to coordinate the march and work out logistics.

Zuniga said Friday that the march is intended to call attention to what he called the long-running problem of racial profiling in East Haven.

Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller, president of the police union, were charged in Jan. with conspiracy, deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice.

Federal officials say the officers denied Latino residents and their advocates the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizers, the right to not be arrested and detained without probable cause and to not be arrested on false and misleading evidence.

The officers also are accused of harassing and intimidating individuals, including advocates, witnesses and other officers who tried to investigate or report misconduct or abuse committed by the four officers.

Less than a week after the officers were arrested, East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo resigned. Gallo’s attorney indicated that his client is one of the unnamed co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment.

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. also found himself in hot water for a comment a made to a television reporter when asked what he was going to do for the Latino community in the wake of the scandal.

“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.

Connecticut’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission has called on him to resign and an immigration reform group delivered 400 tacos to Maturo’s office in protest.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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