Police chief Leonard Gallo, whose department is under federal investigation for egregious racial profiling and more as a result of its mistreatment of Hispanic residents of the town of East Haven, Connecticut, has announced his retirement, effective at the end of the week.
For background, per CNN:
East Haven police Sgt. John Miller and officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo were arrested last week. According to a federal indictment, the four allegedly conspired to "injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate various members of the East Haven community," -- profiling Latino residents during traffic stops, performing illegal searches and harassing Latino business owners and their advocates.
The men allegedly threatened and assaulted detainees, made false arrests -- including a local clergy member -- and later conspired to cover up evidence of their conduct by falsifying reports and blocking an investigation, prosecutors said.
Gallo was named as a co-conspirator, is potentially facing criminal charges as well as a civil suit. Quite a guy.
Mayor Joseph Maturo called the outgoing chief "an unwavering supporter of the town of East Haven." If the mayor's name sounds familiar, take a look at this USA Today article:
The mayor of a working-class city roiled by allegations of police discrimination against Hispanics faced scathing criticism Wednesday from officials including the governor for saying he "might have tacos" as a way to do something for the community.
Quite a pair. Here's hoping the mayor follows the police chief out the door.
Updated Final Thoughts: Seriously though, this is the kind of thing that is so harmful to our efforts to come together as one people, as Americans. Plenty of people all over the media have written about the need for immigrants and minorities to do more to integrate and to identify themselves as Americans.
On occasion, I've written things along those lines as well, although I've tried always to balance that with a recognition that most immigrants and minorities already are doing plenty on that front, and that one thing standing in their way, all too often, is the bigotry and exclusion they face from some white Americans or (in the case of immigrants) other native-born Americans on occasion. The unfolding scandal in East Haven, Connecticut is but one of far too many examples of exactly that bigotry and exclusion.
Being one nation means that those in the majority have to make clear that those who have been excluded or those who are newly arrived are not only welcome, but embraced as members of the national community. When we do that, we can hope and reasonably expect that those we embrace will embrace us back. I hope that as we move forward in time, the East Havens will become more and more the anomaly. We'll have to see.