Monday, January 30, 2012
From Center for Community Change:
East Haven Police Chief Steps Down After Immigration Rights Group Calls on Him to Resign
More than 15,000 People Signed Reform Immigration FOR America’s Petition
8,000 People Text ‘Taco’ for Justice in East Haven
(WASHINGTON)—Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) is pleased with East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo’s announcement he is stepping down but the immigration rights group says the history of racism in the community will not be overcome by this single act.
“This is a real victory for racial understanding and a clear indication of the power of our community. Going forward, we are committed to holding the leadership of East Haven accountable to the needs, desires and hopes of the residents,” said RI4A spokesman Henry Fernandez. “We are ready to talk, we are committed to monitoring the next steps and rhetoric of the mayor, and we are watching the police department, which must take advantage of this transition to institute new policies and a new culture.”
“Everyone in East Haven must come together to work toward improving relations with the Latino community, and we intend to be heard on this issue, loud and clear,” said Latrina Kelly, interim Executive Director of JUNTA for Progressive Action. JUNTA, an RI4A member, is based in New Haven.
Fernandez and Kelly called on East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo to include strong representation of the Latino community on the search committee for a new police chief.
“Maturo said today the search process would be transparent. We would go further and demand that the Latino community should be involved in the selection process and the U.S. Department of Justice should participate as well,” Fernandez said.
RI4A sent out an online petition, http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-mayor-maturo-replace-east-haven-chief-of-police-and-send-a-clear-message-that-racial-profiling-wont-be-tolerated, last Wednesday calling on Gallo to resign. The petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures in a few short days.
The petition followed RI4A’s ‘text a taco’ social media campaign initiated to blast Maturo for his quip that he “might have tacos” when asked what he would do to reach out to the Latino community in light of a federal probe into four of East Haven’s police officers charged with terrorizing Latinos. As of today, nearly 8,000 texts have been sent in solidarity for the Latino community.