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Idiot Mayor's Peace Offering to Latinos Harassed by Cops: 'I'll Eat Tacos'

 
 
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 On Tuesday morning , the FBI arrested four East Haven, CT police officers for allegedly using excessive force against Latinos, illegally and unreasonably searching them, and covering up the abuse. Details of the case allege extremely cruel behavior, including assaulting people while they were handcuffed, searching Latino businesses, and other forms of harassment and intimidation. But not all residents were outraged by the officers' behavior, including the Mayor. On Tuesday night,  East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Maturo was interviewed  by WPIX reporter Mario Diaz, who asked, "What are you doing for the Latino community today?"

His infuriating response? "I might have tacos when I go home; I'm not quite sure yet."

The reporter calls out Maturo for being ridiculously inappropriate, and the Mayor reacts with some nonsense about how he is Italian and might eat spaghetti, then says something about having eaten "ethnic" food before. Then, in another interview with the station -- where the mayor tried to redeem himself -- he blamed his response on the so-called "shallow" question that elicited it. 

More on the police officers arrested, from the Huffington Post:

"In simple terms, these defendants behaved like bullies with badges," said Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director of the New York office of the FBI.

Zullo described taking joy in singling out Latinos, authorities said, telling Spaulding in a 2008 exchange quoted by the indictment that he liked harassing drivers and referred to "persons who have drifted to this country on rafts made of chicken wings" and living in East Haven.

Miller repeatedly slapped a man handcuffed in his car, while Spaulding threw a man to the ground and repeatedly kicked him while he was handcuffed, according to the indictment.

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Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller, president of the police union, are each charged with conspiracy against rights, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. Some also face charges including deprivation of rights, obstruction of justice and use of unreasonable force.

Watch the WPIX report here

Update: Amid backlash under the hashtag TacoGate, Mayor Maturo apologized for its remarks Wednesday evening. From HLN TV:

 “My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community,” East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo said in a statement obtained by HLN. “Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example.”

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“I know people have said something to me about my Italian heritage and they didn’t mean it and I took offense to it and -- you know how we all get -- and my gander got up and … when I thought about it I said, 'You know, that person really didn’t mean nothing by it,' and that’s exactly what happened yesterday,” he said.

 Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy chastised the Mayor's comments, and demanded he apologize immediately. His statement, from HLN:


"The comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo are repugnant. They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable. Being tired is no excuse. He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he's going to do to repair the damage he's done. And he needs to do it today."  

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at January 25, 2012, 11:03am