On February 3, a big change happened very close to home for a lot of UNH students. Leonard Gallo resigned as Chief of Police in East Haven.
He left amidst much controversy about his suspected role in a racial profiling case being made by the FBI. Four members of the East Haven Police Department were arrested last week, charged with conspiracy to racially profile members of the Latino community. Gallo is facing suspicion of having allowed or overlooked what was happening within his department.
Both Mayor Joseph Maturo and Gallo’s attorney, Jonathan Einhorn, stand by Gallo’s innocence and fairness as a Police Chief. Yet, Einhorn released to the media that Gallo was named as a co-conspirator in the FBI’s case, as well as in at least one civil lawsuit. And Maturo recently faced a storm of media attention after he made some controversial comments in response to the four officers being arrested. He has since apologized for the comments he made, but the damage may already have been done.
The charges against the four officers, and thus also Gallo (who has not been arrested) sparked a comment from the assistant FBI director in New York, Janice Fedarcyk. According to CNN, Fedarcyk said that they “behaved like bullies with badges.” The officers allegedly illegally searched various members of the Latino community, profiled during traffic stops, and harassed Latino business owners and also Latino community advocates. They also allegedly assaulted and threatened Latino detainees, and lied in their reports and covered up evidence of their actions.
Einhorn insists that Gallo’s resignation was independent of the charges and that he was planning to retire for some time before the incidents. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the cases unfold in the news in the near future.