For those who are wondering why the East Haven Police Department is out of control, one possible answer is that Mayor Joseph Maturo is an idiot.
What other possible explanation is there for Mr. Maturo's comments Tuesday night following the arrest of four East Haven police officers for violating, often brutally, the civil rights of Latinos? A New York television reporter asked Mr. Maturo what he was doing for the Latino community. (See the interview, by all means, at http://www.courant.com.) A moderately sentient public official in such a circumstance might say that he planned to meet with leaders of the community to apologize for the officers' behavior and ask them to join him in making changes to prevent such unacceptable conduct.
Mr. Maturo responded by saying that he that he might go home and have tacos for dinner. He then rambled on with marginal coherence about other ethnic groups, mentioning his own Italian heritage ("I might have spaghetti"). We would bet that Italian Americans who've seen the video cringed.
Reaction to Mr. Maturo's spectacularly insensitive remarks was swift and appropriate. Gov.Dannel P. Malloycalled the comments "repugnant" and "unacceptable," and other government and civil rights leaders echoed his thoughts.
Mr. Maturo's interview may offer an insight into recent history.
In 2009, when a Catholic priest, Father James Manship, was arrested for filming an interaction between cops and minority store owners, some mayors might have discerned a possible problem. Mr. Maturo apparently did not. Rev. Manship's actions led to a probe by theU.S. Justice Department, which issued a scathing report accusing the East Haven Police Department of "systematically discriminating against Latinos," conduct that was "deeply rooted in the department's culture."
A related federal grand jury investigation resulted in the arrest of the four officers. On Tuesday, Mr. Maturo said he didn't believe the charges and stood behind the cops.
Mr. Maturo doesn't speak for Italian Americans, most East Haven residents or state residents, but he managed to embarrass all of us. His pathetic attempt at an apology doesn't wash. He ought to resign.