Bullies With Badges

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

That was the description of four East Haven, Connecticut, police officers who were arrested after a federal grand jury returned an indictment containing charges of conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of members of the East Haven community. All four have pleaded not guilty in Federal District Court and three have been released on bail, ranging from $100,000 to $300,000; the fourth is awaiting completion of his paperwork.

The indictment alleges unreasonable searches and seizures, the use of unreasonable force, false and misleading police reports, and harassment and intimidation of victims, witnesses, and outside investigators. All four are facing potential jail sentences of 10 years or longer if convicted.

The four officers were protected by a higher-up in the East Haven Police Department referred to, in the indictment, as co-conspirator-1. The name of co-conspirator-1 is known to the grand jury, and if any of the four officers decides to make a deal, another indictment may be forthcoming.

The long list of abuses of power were often directed at Latino drivers and businesses, and the victims reported the abuse to Father James Manship of the St. Rose of Lima Church in Fair Haven. Manship started his own investigation and, in 2009, got himself arrested while video recording two of the officers. In the police report, one of the officers wrote that he saw an “unknown shiny silver object” that Manship had “cupped” in his hands. However, in the video below, the officer clearly refers to the “shiny object” as a camera.

The arrest of Manship prompted the investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

This case demonstrates the importance of not outlawing the recording of police officers in public performing their duties. The courage of Manship should be an inspiration to all of us to not back down when confronted by bullies.

H/T: Radley Balko, New Haven Independent, DoJ, New York Times, WTNH.

41 thoughts on “Bullies With Badges

  1. The long list of abuses of power were often directed at Latino drivers and businesses, and the victims reported the abuse to Father James Manship of the St. Rose of Lima Church in Fair Haven. Manship started his own investigation and, in 2009, got himself arrested while video recording two of the officers.”

    A citizen journalist to the rescue once again.

    Thanks Nal, and thanks to Turley Blog, for being part of The Citizen Free Press.

    We have a formidable enemy to counter.

  2. Father Winship deserves praise for his courage and dedication to parishioners. I’m struck that the allegations if true remind one of a 70’s B movie where cops band together to fight the “scourge” of crime by using extra- legal methods. These were an opening gambit towards the disregard of legal “niceties” we have today in the name of fighting crime and terror.

  3. Nal,

    Excellent choice….The DOJ is playing both sides of the fence on this one….They represent the cops who arrest these people…and now they have arrested the people that they usually represent….Hmmm….Hopefully they will be convicted….and how long did this go on before the DOJ got involved…How many people are or have been incarcerated because of these and other bad cops…..Just wondering….

  4. Only slightly OT. In Washington state, 83 year old Jesuit Priest and peace activist, Father Bill Bichsel, has been placed in solitary confinement at Sea-Tac Federal Prison. His crime? Violation of “visitor privileges.” Seems he had been sent to a halfway house where they have a 72 hour hold on receiving visitors. Two Buddhist monks and several students on their way to a protest stopped by the halfway house; and while still out on the sidewalk on the public street, drummed and prayed for Fr. Bichsel. The Feds wrote him up for this egregious violation of the 72 hour waiting period before having visitors and banished this dangerous 83 year old “criminal” to solitary confinement. Fr. Bichsel is in frail health, but is now on a hunger strike.

    Blogger David Harris Gershon, writing under the pen name The Troubadour, has the story. Be sure to follow the links for more details. The highlighted orange text are links.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/28/1059350/-POLICE-STATE:-Ailing-83-Year-Old-Activist-Priest-Held-in-Solitary-Confinement-in-Federal-Prison?via=siderec

  5. Racíal profiling? Looks like harassment for the sake of extortion.

    Saw it in action in Thailand at beach hotel, when the unannounced bagman came for the pickup.
    On first visit to Mexico City on business, the first warning was don’t go in any park; the police will rob you there.

    But then extortion would fall under local “injustice”, not Fed. So the PC-correct crime of profiling was better. Not that Feds are any cleaner in general.

  6. For me it is important to note how long it took for these indictments to materialize. When I consider the police behavior and practices over the years and the number of people who must have suffered, the courage and dedication of this Priest is remarkable.

    I’m certain he spent many dark hours despairing and wondering if his efforts would ever make a difference. It is those dark hours that can defeat our best efforts to continue working for justice.

    Hopefully the Feds will demand and the Jury and Judge will concur that these thugs receive no more mercy in a verdict and sentencing than they dispensed as peace officers upon their victims.

    This sort of “official” brutality is happening all over the country and Police Departments need to see that many years in prison without the chance for early parole is a very real and actual outcome for “bullies with badges”.

  7. OS,

    Look no further than North of you in Midland, Michigan….You’ll find a lot of clergy that have been arrested….and believe this or not they are and were Catholic Priests….Something about a Military Base and Nukes….

  8. Raff,

    Not to correct you….But he’ll get around to it as soon as he finishes his swallow…..and put his red pointy hat on….

  9. Speaking of bullies with badges, there is a police riot going on in Oakland. One commenter said the police showed up with some sort of tank to help break up a peaceful protest. One woman shot in the back with a “non lethal” bullet from a range of about one foot. Her injuries are not known at the present time. Horace Boothroyd III seems to be everywhere these days, and has been live-blogging the events.

    The 1% is scared and it is showing. My concern is they become dangerous when they are frightened, cowering in their gated communities.

    jpmassar writes the following:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/28/1059556/-ALL-HOLY-HELL-HAS-BROKEN-OUT-IN-OAKLAND?via=recent

  10. anon nurse
    1, January 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm
    Well said, Blouise. Well said…

    (BTW, I never find those darn kittehs either…)

    =============================================

    Yeah, but we keep trying and thus have a deep appreciation for Father James Manship!

  11. Ah, the power of people working together to effect change… one community at a time. Old news, but it gives one a sense of how it all came together:

    From mid-December of 2011:

    http://easthaven.patch.com/articles/justice-department-east-haven-police-engaged-in-racial-profiling-in-violation-of-federal-laws#photo-8746064

    Excerpt:

    Leaders from St. Rose of Lima Church in Fair Haven, who spearheaded a civil rights lawsuit against the East Haven Police Department, issued a press release stating that the U.S. Department of Justice’s findings supports their allegations of racial profiling and police brutality against Latinos by the East Haven Police Department.

    “Two years ago this month, our congregation and others in the community joined together in a vigil recognizing the start of this investigation,” said Father James Manship, a priest at St. Rose of Lima Church. “The Department of Justice’s announcement today vindicates the complaints of racial profiling by Latinos that have devastated our community for years.”

    Angel Fernandez, a leader of the St. Rose Pastoral Council, stated: “Neither the Town of East Haven nor the East Haven Police Department has been willing to take any serious steps to curb anti-Latino abuse and harassment. Only a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment of Latinos and an end the intimidation of police officers and community members will address the community’s concerns.”

  12. This is an old press release… (a link from the excerpt, above) Good things happen when people work together in the interest of pursuing justice…

    http://easthaven.patch.com/announcements/press-release-st-rose-of-lima-church-leaders-react-to-dojs-east-haven-police-department

    Community Leaders React After US Department of Justice Denounces East Haven Police Department for Widespread Abuse and Harassment of Latinos

    December 19, 2011: New Haven, Conn.: Leaders of the Catholic and Latino communities reacted today to a U.S. Department of Justice report, which denounced the East Haven Police Department for engaging in a pattern and practice of discrimination against Latinos.

    “Two years ago this month, our congregation and others in the community joined together in a vigil recognizing the start of this investigation,” said Father James Manship, a priest at St. Rose of Lima Church. “The Department of Justice’s announcement today vindicates the complaints of racial profiling by Latinos that have devastated our community for years.”

    The report found that EHPD intentionally targets Latinos for traffic enforcement and treats Latino drivers more harshly during traffic stops in violation of their constitutional rights. It also finds that Chief Gallo created a hostile and intimidating environment for people trying to cooperate with the DOJ investigation.

    “Systemic reforms will be necessary to make sure the police department respects all residents,” said Manship. “During his time as police chief, Gallo failed to take steps to improve the culture of the department. The DOJ’s report makes clear that Chief Gallo is a primary reason for the Department’s failures, although his leadership is not the only problem.”

    Mayor Joe Maturo reinstated Chief Gallo this November as one of his first acts as mayor. Gallo was placed on administrative leave by former Mayor April Capone Almon in March 2010 in response to the USDOJ’s investigation of claims of racial profiling and police harassment.

    Angel Fernandez, a leader of the St. Rose Pastoral Council, stated: “Neither the Town of East Haven nor the East Haven Police Department has been willing to take any serious steps to curb anti-Latino abuse and harassment. Only a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment of Latinos and an end the intimidation of police officers and community members will address the community’s concerns.”

    “The victims of the East Haven Police Department’s intimidation and lawlessness were betrayed by officers they trusted to protect and serve them,” said Kristin Macleod-Ball, a law student intern in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School (WIRAC), which is representing the community groups in the DOJ civil rights investigation. “Today’s announcement brings them one step closer to justice.”

    Fr. Manship and several members of the Latino community also brought a civil rights lawsuit in October 2010, alleging that the Town of East Haven and the East Haven Police Department failed to properly address a pattern of police harassment and violence against Latinos.

    For further information, please contact Angel Fernandez-Chavero (203-668-8757) (habla español).

    —Workers and Immigrants Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

    (Editor’s note: The Workers and Immigrants Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School is representing St. Rose of Lima Church and Apostle Immigrant Services, the community organizations that filed a complaint with the US DOJ in March 2009, prompting an investigation into allegations of racial profiling by the East Haven Police Department.)

  13. “The New Haven Register has chosen the Rev. James Manship, the New Haven-based Catholic priest who has been a central figure in making public allegations of mistreatment and profiling of Latino residents by the East Haven Police Department, as its 2011 “Person of the Year.””

    http://easthaven.patch.com/articles/new-haven-register-rev-james-manship-person-of-the-year

    (New Haven) Register: Manship ‘Person of the Year’ (POLL)

    by Julie Weisberg
    January 1, 2012

    “What do you think of the newspaper’s selection of the New Haven priest — instrumental in spurring an investigation and lawsuit related to anti-Latino bias allegations against the East Haven Police Department — as “Person of the Year”?”

    (Editor’s note: The poll that originally accompanied this article has been removed due to technical issues.)

  14. Horray for Father Manship!! What a man! We need more people like him who will stop these brutes. I also have been the victim of police harassment, police brutality, obstruction of justice. I am sick of it! Who pays their salary? We, the people, do. Not only should these officers be fired but also the Chief of police of this district. We punish the coaches of football teams when they turn their heads and overlook sick, unacceptable behavior so why don’t we also punish the Chief or Captain supervising these brutes. We should also get rid of the Chief of police of these officers. It is the Captain’s and Chief’s responsibility to make sure their officers under them are conducting themselves properly and most importantly, with integrity. Look up police brutality on the internet and you will weep. They have gone toooooo far and we must not allow it any longer. They push all “criminal activity” they do under the rug called “Code of Silence”. I call it the “Code of satan.” Let’s unite and rid ourselves of these brutes now and forever. Everytime I read or listen to the news, there are more police in the limelight misusing their power and authority. What is the difference between these brutes and terrorists? Enough!!!

  15. A little OT. but here’s to policing the police, all across this country.

    “In November, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described the Police Department as “the seventh biggest army in the world.”” -from the following article

    It’s Time to Police the N.Y.P.D.

    By FAIZA PATEL and ELIZABETH GOITEIN

    Published: January 29, 2012

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/the-nypd-needs-policing.html?src=twrhp

    Excerpt:

    A similar pattern was evident when The Associated Press revealed last August that the Police Department had been spying on Muslims as they prayed, ate and went about daily life. The police flatly denied the existence of the program. After The A.P. released documents about a “Demographics Unit” assigned to map Muslim communities, the police were forced to acknowledge the program, but minimized its significance. At a City Council hearing, Mr. Kelly gave few details about the program and said the police were following the law.

    Contrast this response with the reaction of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. when recently presented with similar issues. When it came to light that the F.B.I. had been using anti-Muslim training materials, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. denounced their use and immediately ordered a comprehensive review. In response to allegations that the C.I.A.’s cooperation with the police had blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying, the C.I.A.’s inspector general reviewed the relationship and concluded that a C.I.A. officer embedded with the police hadn’t been sufficiently supervised. On Friday, Mr. Kelly said the officer would leave in April.

    History shows that any attempt to oversee the police will be met with great resistance by the department and its political allies. But no agency is immune from mistakes. When the stakes are as high as they are in fighting terrorism, there must be a mechanism to identify excesses and wrongdoing.

    We need an independent inspector general for the Police Department. Such an official would have seen the film scandal for what it is: not the error of one sergeant, but an indication that procedures for authorizing training materials are lacking. Oversight makes government stronger, not weaker.

    In November, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described the Police Department as “the seventh biggest army in the world.” Effective oversight of such a potent force is a necessity — not a luxury — for the country’s largest city.

  16. “Leonard Gallo, East Haven Police Chief, Retiring After Town Hit By Scandal”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/leonard-gallo-east-haven-police-chief-retiring-after-scandal_n_1241580.html (with a video on racial profiling)

    Excerpt:

    Gallo apparently has been referred to as an unnamed co-conspirator in the federal indictment, accused of blocking efforts by the police commission to investigate misconduct. His attorney, Jon Einhorn, has denied the allegations.

    The retirement will take effect on Feb. 10, Einhorn said. A news conference on the retirement is planned for later Monday and Einhorn declined to comment further.

    The four officers, who were arrested Jan. 24 by the FBI, are charged with waging a campaign against Latino residents that included beatings, false arrests and harassment of those who threatened to report misconduct. They have all pleaded not guilty.

    Frederick Brow, chairman of the town’s police commission, said Monday that the commission was preparing to vote Tuesday night on whether to recommend to the mayor that Gallo be fired. He said he believes Gallo should be dismissed.

    “It’s been a general breakdown in control in that department for quite a while and it’s time for Gallo to be terminated,” Brow said.

    The FBI also is targeting additional suspects, and state officials say they are preparing for the possibility of widespread arrests that could cripple the town’s police department.

  17. Tip o’ the iceberg. Go get ’em…

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-east-haven-police-commission-20120131,0,488693.story

    East Haven Police Commission To Ask For Gallo’s Firing, Discuss Complaint Against Maturo

    By DENISE BUFFA

    1:59 p.m. EST, January 31, 2012

    The East Haven police commission Tuesday night is expected to ask Mayor Joseph Maturo to fire Police Chief Len Gallo in an effort to keep Gallo from receiving more than $100,000 for unused sick leave and vacation.

    The commission is also scheduled to discuss the filing of a complaint against Maturo with the state Commission On Human Rights and Opportunities over Maturo’s highly publicized comment about how he planned to eat tacos as a way to reach out to the town’s Latino community.

    Gallo announced his retirement Monday, although Fred Brow, the head of the police commission, said he wants Gallo fired. The commission is scheduled to discuss and possibly make a recommendation to Maturo, according to its meeting agenda.

    [Sample Our Free Breaking News Alert And 3 P.M. News Newsletters]

    Gallo’s resignation is effective Friday. He is at the center of a federal probe into civil rights violations against Latinos and is an unnamed co-conspirator in last week’s indictment of four officers, his lawyer has acknowledged.

    The arrests, and subsequent taco comment by Maturo, has thrust the shoreline community into the national spotlight.

    Brow has said firing Gallo won’t affect his pension, but could prevent the town from having to pay him for unused vacation and sick leave, which could total $150,000.

    “His behavior was so poor, we don’t feel he’s entitled to anything,” Brow said after Gallo’s retirement announcement.

    Sources said Maturo, soon after his election in November, was notified by federal investigators that the arrests of officers were expected. He said federal officials were angered that he reinstated Gallo, who was put on leave by the previous mayor.

    The plaintiffs in the civil rights lawsuit and community activists said that Gallo’s resignation presented an opportunity for the department to reform its ways.

    “Gallo’s position at the top of the East Haven Police Department signaled to the brave victims who risked everything to testify and to the Latino community that their dignity was not respected,” said Ángel Fernández-Chavero, a leader of the pastoral council at St. Rose of Lima Church. “I hope that the department now moves swiftly to implement the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Justice and its own consultant, the Police Executive Research Forum.”

    The Rev. James Manship, whose arrest while taping police actions helped lead to the federal probe, said, “Gallo cultivated a racist and dishonest police force.

  18. Here’s to one of the good guys: Adrian Schoolcraft. Here’s to “tellilng the truth like crazy.”

    Telling the Truth Like Crazy

    By JIM DWYER
    Published: March 8, 2012

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/nyregion/officer-sues-claiming-police-retaliation-for-truth-telling.html?scp=1&sq=telling%20the%20truth%20like%20crazy&st=cse

    Excerpts:

    One summer day in 2009, a woman walked into the police station house of the 81st Precinct, in Brooklyn, to report that her car had been stolen. She was well into her second day of trying to file a report, having already spoken to five or more officers in two precincts and was waiting, exasperated, for a lieutenant to turn up as he had promised.

    Officer Adrian Schoolcraft has filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department, claiming the department had him taken forcibly to a psychiatric ward when he brought up a suspicion that serious crimes were underreported.

    Then an officer named Adrian Schoolcraft emerged and heard her story. She wrote an account for him. He bundled it with a dozen other cases of crime victims who found themselves trapped in bureaucratic hamster wheels that seemed to have purposely been set up to make it hard to report serious crimes. It was a pattern, Officer Schoolcraft was convinced.

    That October, he met with investigators and told them about the woman and her car, and others who were the victims of felonies but whose cases either disappeared from statistics or wound up classified as misdemeanors: a Chinese-food deliveryman who was beaten and robbed; a cabby held up at gunpoint; a man who was beaten and robbed of his wallet and cellphone, a case that the 81st Precinct classified as “lost property.”

    Officer Schoolcraft’s career in the Police Department was about to take a turn for the worse.

    On the evening of Oct. 31, 2009, Officer Schoolcraft, who had gone home sick from work, was forcibly taken from his home in Queens by senior police officials and delivered to a hospital psychiatric ward.

    He had been telling the truth like crazy.

    This week, the findings of an internal police investigation into his claims were reported in The Village Voice in an article by Graham Rayman, the latest installment in a series that has won awards for chronicling the case of Officer Schoolcraft and the corruption of police crime statistics. The investigation found “a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct.”

    The 85-page report, never released by the Police Department, vindicated Officer Schoolcraft, who has been suspended without pay for more than two years. He has filed a lawsuit, charging that he faced retaliation for telling the truth. Officer Schoolcraft recorded all the precinct roll calls for two years, and also recorded the raid on his home when he was brought to the psychiatric ward. One senior official confiscated his audio recorder during that encounter, but he had secreted a backup.
    ….

    Finding out what happened to the Schoolcraft case was as daunting as trying to file a crime report. Using the state’s Freedom of Information Law, Mr. Rayman of The Village Voice sought the report, which was completed in June 2010. The police denied his request. He appealed. They denied it again. He finally obtained a copy through back channels and published an article this week.

    It was, as he points out, not nuclear launch codes, but a factual recitation of everyday bureaucratic activities in a police station house.

    The government does not have a Fifth Amendment right to silence.

    End of excerpts

  19. Increasingly this is the trend in this country — if you want to shut someone up, call ’em crazy… Schoolcraft’s father used to be a cop in Texas… (Dallas or Ft. Worth). After his son was forcibly hospitalized, his dad couldn’t find him for days… (What follows is just one of many sources for this information.)

    http://abagond.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/adrian-schoolcraft/

    Excerpt:

    Meanwhile serious crime was not taken seriously. When people called to report that they had been robbed, beaten or raped, the police would try to talk them out of it. They would find excuses not to take the report or, when they did, they would downgrade the seriousness of the crime. Rape, for example, would become trespassing. Serial rapists on the loose make the police look bad, but not serial trespassers.

    Schoolcraft thought his duty was to protect people, not to “get his numbers up”. His numbers were terrible. Since he feared being fired and since his commanding officer was breaking the law, he recorded everything and kept careful notes to build a case.

    When he had a solid case he went to Internal Affairs, which handles such things.

    Then one night a few weeks later Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, his commanding officer, who is the police chief for Bed-Stuy, and Deputy Chief Michael Marino, the police chief for all of northern Brooklyn, arrive at his door with a dozen policemen. They tear his place apart.

    Schoolcraft refuses to go with them – he says he is sick. The paramedic checks him out and says his blood pressure is sky high. When Schoolcraft refuses to go to the hospital, as is his right, Marino says he is EPD – an “emotionally disturbed person”. They throw him to the ground, beat him up and handcuff him. Marino steps on his face with his boot and tells him it does not have to be like this.

    And then Schoolcraft disappears.

    His father calls the police, Internal Affairs, the FBI. No one knows where he is. Then he started calling the hospitals. After six days he finds his son at last in a mental ward in Queens, where the police had put him. His father gets him out.

    After that Schoolcraft went to live at his father’s house hundreds of miles away. Despite the distance, New York police officers have appeared at his door ten times so far. They pound on his door and shout at him but he does not answer.

    He went to the press. The Village Voice listened to his tapes and printed the story. The police denied it. People in Bed-Stuy protested it. Mauriello and Marino were moved to another part of the city. (end of excerpt)

    Just in case anyone cares…

  20. Elaine, that’s how they used to do it in the old Soviet Union, is it not? Just send the dissidents off to a mental institution and throw away the key? Considering what has been revealed about the NYPD spying on Muslims even across state lines it is not surprising, but still chilling, that they would pursue officer Schoolcraft hundreds of miles away. The NYPD is out of control.

  21. On New Year’s Eve 2008, I had the blessing of meeting Father James Manship, my being Minister James Manship, of the Amos 5:15 Project (“Hate evil and love the good. Remodel your Courts into true halls of Justice.” of the God and Country Foundation of Mount Vernon, VA) and talk with Father Manship in his office. I shared with him my work for innocent Army Veteran Jeffrey Franklin Washington, who was coerced into an Alford Plea by a drug dealing Democrat prosecutor, Paul Thomson, for the murder of a drug dealer, despite TWO Gun Shot Residue tests that show Washington did not fire a gun, and another man accused did. After I reported to the Virginia State Police on 4 January 2011, Thomson was arrested by DEA on 10 January. Thomson did a “Plea Deal” in June, but was allowed to continue to practice law until a letter I wrote to the Governor and Chief Justice in July. After a flurry of my letters to the Virginia State Bar, Thomson finally “lost” his law license in August. In Sept. 2011, finally Thomson went to Federal Prison, but the “Criminal Justice” system in Virginia, including the current Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, refuses to release the innocent Washington. Another local prosecutor, Diana Wheeler of Orange County, was appointed as a “Special Prosecutor”, but after 19 months delay, did a cover-up of Court Transcript tampering, removing a key witness from the murder scene, by a woman who was sleeping with Thomson. Ahhh, Corruption, thy name is Virginia Courts!

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