East Haven top cop resigns amid scandal

After four of his officers were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last Tuesday for systematic mistreatment of Latino residents, East Haven Police Department Chief Leonard Gallo will resign Friday.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. announced this resignation Monday morning press conference at Town Hall. The officers were indicted on several counts of excessive force, false arrest and conspiracy against rights — that conspiracy, the indictment said, included a “Co-conspirator 1” who impeded investigation into the misconduct and helped create a “climate of fear” in the local community. Fred Bow, the chairman of the East Haven Board of Police Commissioners, identified Gallo as “Co-conspirator 1.”

“Chief Gallo has always been an unwavering supporter of the town of East Haven,” East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said at the press conference, according to the New Haven Register. “His decision to retire at this time is a selfless act, designed to assist in the healing process.”

Although Gallo was not indicted last Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut David Fein said at the time more arrests would likely be made as the FBI continues its investigation. The four arrested EHPD officers were accused of conducting unlawful searches and seizures and assaulting people already handcuffed, as well as preventing civilians from videotaping police on duty.

After the arrests, Maturo told the News he stood by his police department “from top to bottom.” But on Monday, he announced Gallo’s resignation and said a search for a new chief will begin immediately.

“The new chief must possess the ability to effectively restructure the department; implement suggested reforms; and reach out to and work closely with members of all segments of the East Haven community to build trust between the community and the department,” he said, the Register reported.

Gallo’s resignation comes as calls intensify for Maturo to step down. Three members of the state’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission met with Maturo before the press conference and urged him to resign, the Hartford Courant reported.

“The Latino community feels [Maturo and Gallo] are not fit to be our stewards, so to speak,” commission member Isaias Diaz said.

As of Monday night, 15,201 people signed an online petition at Change.org telling Gallo to resign from his post. EHPD Deputy Chief John Mannion will serve as chief until a new chief is chosen, Maturo said.

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