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Justice Department: East Haven, Connecticut, police targeted Latinos
The U.S. Department of Justice accused the East Haven police in Connecticut discrimination against Latinos.
December 20th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Justice Department: East Haven, Connecticut, police targeted Latinos

By Kiran Khalid, CNN

New York (CNN) – In a scathing report, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday accused the East Haven Police Department  in Connecticut of engaging in a pattern of widespread discrimination against Latinos in violation of the Constitution and federal law.

"We find that EHPD engages in discriminatory policing against Latinos, including but not limited to targeting Latinos for discriminatory traffic enforcement, treating Latino drivers more harshly than non-Latino drivers after a traffic stop, and intentionally and woefully failing to design and implement internal systems of control that would identify, track, and prevent such misconduct," Assistant Attorney General Thomas J. Perez wrote in a 23-page letter to the East Haven mayor, detailing the results of a two-year investigation.

The letter described the discrimination as "deeply rooted in the Department's culture," and cited a statistical analysis showing how Latinos were "intentionally targeted" for traffic stops. It provided the example of a particular officer's stops - 40.5% of which were of Latino drivers.

Overall, the investigation found that 19.9% of traffic stops made by the EHPD were of Latino drivers, concluding it "shows pervasive discrimination against Latinos on every level of EHPD traffic enforcement activity." The report also said officers were able to target Latinos by focusing on customers leaving Latino businesses.

In addition to the high rate of traffic stops, the report accused some EHPD officers of conducting unauthorized immigration investigations. The report mentioned "numerous incident reports" where EHPD officers contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the status or seek an immigration detention of a Latino person. Investigators said the tactic was "used to harass and intimidate Latinos rather than pursue legitimate law enforcement objectives."

The analysis of the police department's practices against the Latino community said the Connecticut department, at the very least, turned a blind eye to the blatant cases of biased policing and at worst, enabled it. It also accused the department's leadership of thwarting the investigation by "creating a hostile and intimidating environment" for anyone willing to cooperate with it.

CNN reached out to the East Haven Police Department multiple times for comment on Monday. It did not respond.
According to 2010 census data, East Haven has a population of some 29,000 people. The vast majority of residents, 88.5%, are white, while 10.3% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Close to 3% of residents identify as black or African-American.

The findings come on the heels of a federal investigation that began more than two years ago, involving a massive review of EHPD incident reports, documents and interviews of department personnel.

The Justice Department said it will meet with community leaders, as well with as municipal agencies to address the concerns raised in the report. But the federal agency also made clear that the United States may suspend or terminate federal funding if the town fails to address the civil rights violations.

CNN's Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. liz

    it saddens me to know that ther e are still people out there with so much hatred. i never want my son to experience what I have experienced.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • noillegaleverSCRAM

      You don't know what hate is, but I'd be willing to teach it to your little mongrel kid.

      December 23, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. liz

    I have dealt with discrimination and racism in my life, but truly thought that we had grown as a people to respect and appreciate our diversity in this country.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • noillegaleverSCRAM

      Tell your people to quit sneaking in like a thief in the night-get in the back of the line and come LEGALLY and you might get some respect. "I have dealt with discrimination my whole life...." BOO EFFIN' HOO!

      December 23, 2011 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. dan shaw

    blacks have worked very hard for decades even when we did'nt get the job for being black. so your lazy comment is wrong. just stop taking all the jobs ok!

    December 21, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • noillegaleverSCRAM

      I agree, African Americans are hard workers-the majority, just like us whites, the majority are hard workers. Obummer-a lazy bum-never had a job in his life and come 2012, he'll be fired from the first job he's ever had. Messkins, they think they work hard, but stealing rims, selling dope, stealing jobs for less pay, raping women and children, for them, that's not hard work.

      December 23, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Aldo A.

    http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/5136/newhaven.png
    http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/1682/citizens.png

    All this nonsensical talk about illegal immigration but none of these bigots do their research before opening their mouths. Bigots will be bigots, and they will always look for any excuse to spew their prejudice even if it's complete BS. Next time do your research and at least make an effort to know what you're talking about before go on another xenophobic racist tirade. The same people they accuse of being illegal immigrants that are here destroying the white mans country are in fact natural born citizens of this very same country. And all that talk about MS13 goes out the window. MS13 is a Salvadorian gang with very loose Mexican ties. These are both central/south American countries, that have nothing to do with Puerto Ricans which is a Caribbean island (Not that there's anything wrong with Mexicans or Salvadorians). However a bigot only needs to see skin color, hear a foreign accent, and/or read a common Spanish sur name to know where someone is from and what their intentions are. Typical racist white America.

    December 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Corinna Gonzalez

    Rudy thank you not all hispanic's are here illegal and for Fr33thnk3r,showmeyerpapers,Daniel and one +one=two you dont now what you talkin about how would you all feel if we said nasty and rude things about your race and in South Carolina most the crimes are black and white not hispanic. you all dont no what to do if this world had no hispanics in it. because the blacks to lazy to work and the whites dont want to work the hispanics dont care if it is hot or cold they work hard for there familys and how many hispanics you here about raping little children and showmeyerpapers how would you like someone to threating to kill your race on site you know that can cause a law suite for people out side your race

    December 21, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bummer

    I can't help but laugh. It appears that some of you know more about what's going on in Conn. after reading this story than the Justice Dept. learned after a 2 year investigation.

    There are people who learn and there are people who remain ignorant.

    December 21, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. chucky

    Wow, Easthaven still has a lot more bigots than really good people. Diversity is something Easthaven should strive for. It makes your community better and economically strong. We in california (the westside) understand your police force and your local government aren't high achievers, but really stop the racism and get a tan. We have other problems to deal with. I wonder what would happen if you were black,affluent and handsome driving in easthaven.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. haha

    Dear White People: Don't you just hate illegal immigration? Sincerely, Native Americans

    December 21, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. OBA8YEARS

    FIND OUT ALSO ABOUT POLICE IN UNION, NJ "THE SAME" EVEN WORST!!!

    December 21, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. liz

    I feel sorry for you. your mentality and hatred is a learned behavior passed down to you by your parents. do this world a favor and break the cycle. don't procreate. there is enough stupidity in this world without you adding to it.

    December 21, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Showmeyerpapers

    How bout LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR! STACK EM LIKE CORDWOOD AND BURN EM!

    December 21, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fr33th1nk3r

    Hmmm...could this by any chance have anything to do with the overwhelming majority of crimes being committed by Hispanics, or the way they account for 6 out of every 7 illegal immigrants in this country?

    December 21, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Showmeyerpapers

    Still got my vote Mr Cain. Herman my man, my main man,the "hermanator" got the nwo scared to death . The man will allow the states to enforce the dadgum law against mehicos invasion of our lives! That would ruin everything for the nwo. Illegals must have murdered at least 250 000 americans in the last 50 years. Cant you hear their blood scream for justice from their graves? Our american brothers and sisters victims of federal ethnic cleansing! Sometimes at night i can hear a car horn stuck on as if in an accident,then another and another and so on when one goes silent the tune is carried on by others till they fill the night with the constant blare,the horrific ane sickening symphony of americans getting wiped out by illegal "hispanic" drivers, theyre wiping out entire families daily. Excellent job new haven police! Keep up the good work or we'll be killing them on sight soon!

    December 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nuh

      Wow. Shoot on sight? There was a country that, I believe, used to do that with a certain race. I'm thinking Europe, 1940's. . . geez. . . just can't put my finger on it. Oh well, good luck with that.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel

    Pull the Latino's over 22.0% more of the time and find 100% more drugs and guns, sounds like a win – win.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Showmeyerpapers

    What about all the areas of our country where the standard of living is govt aid, where the american society has been utterly destroyed and unrecognizable. We once had the greatest nation on earth, now in so many places all we have is "the streets" depressed mehican varios or barrios as they are so proud to say. My once quiet street is now a mexexpressway . The clovis were here long before any mehicans or indians ever existed and they were WHITE. I say deport them all every single one of them, if theyve married americans send them along. Its time to go home and fix their rathole country and stop sucking us dry and preying on innocent americans!

    December 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike zaldivar

      Come to the rez and run your uneducated, bigoted mouth and we"ll show you how NATIVE AMERICANS have fun!!!

      December 21, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  16. DRC

    Mr. Perez is just trying to show all the racist Hispanic groups he is one of them. You know, ethnicity before country. Maybe if the government went after groups and cities that encourage breaking of federal law and non cooperation I would have more respect for it. You know as well as I if illegals or their supporters violate American law or rights Mr. Perez and DOJ could care less.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Showmeyerpapers

    Not only have illegal invaders slit the throats of the working man they are responsible for 75% of the crime here in denver radioreference dot com monitor police and ems frequencies for yourself they must have killed 250000Americans in the last 50 years look at lapd online all most wanted 95% spanic. I knew newt was the sht samich. I dont care if an illegal sailed with washington , REMOVE THEM! The states want the laws ENFORCED PERIOD! Theyll bankrupt EVERY STATE! LOOK AT CALIFORNIA FOR GOD SAKE! Mehico is a cultural catastrophe and our govt has helped them spread their societal ills across our great nation. We would have the highest standard of living on earth if it wasnt for the constant stranglehold on our economy due to the invasion and occupation of our soverign land. Look noone wants to break up families just be sure to get them all on the same bus with the anchor offspring seated up front. What about all the american families torn apart by the federal invasion policy in effect. The

    December 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • real illegal's on the mayflower

      Get real

      December 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jane

    Apparently DWL is the new DWB.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Me

    It is illegal to stop Jose just because he looks like a Jose. Not all Hispanics are illegals much less immigrants. I know the four Hispanics that live on my street are legal. I was in attendance at the birth of three of them and went to high school with the other before we got married.

    QB Mark Sanchez, TE Tony Gonzalez, Gov. Bill Richardson, Cameron Diaz - yes, blue eyes and blond haired Diaz, Martin Sheen, J. Lo, all Americans.

    December 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • One+One=Too

      Well I'm mixed, LaBlack, I 'm a twoforone quota maker, so I leave out the back doors.

      December 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  20. arodri

    19.9% of traffic stops made by the EHPD were of Latino drivers, while 10.3% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. WOW

    December 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Marcano

    All you folks talking that I'm in this country legal. Let's remember this is not your land it was the indigenous People's land who got it violently taking away. One thing history shows us (especially in US") is some people think they have the rights to something they stole and got the nerves to tell another group of people to get out their land? We as a Humanity need to set a lot of things straight...

    December 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Bigwilliestyles

    John wrote: "this isn't news people. If it were an article about a police department somewhere that isn't profiling, then it would be newsworthy. Sad, but it's everywhere". This statement illuminates the current state of racism: that some level of racism should be expected and accepted on some level; sorry, not a chance.@ Danial:and how would a profiler know who is illegal from who is not? I'm sure that has no meaning for you, since there are no profiling directed at whites; if it were, you would feel differently. 5

    December 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Daniel

    what everyone is not saying is that they all had gang affiliations with MS-13, a notoriously violent street gang. I for one welcome racial profiling.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Courtney

      Seriously? I suppose you are one of those people who thinks, if it's not happening to me I'm okay with it. That's a very slippery slope. We have laws in this country, thankfully this is not Syria or Tunisia. It is the duty of the Department of Justice to see to it that the law is applied fairly to all, no exceptions.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • One+One=Too

      Daniel, you aren't too smart. You must be from Boston or Alabama, perhaps Georgia, no..Mississippi, at any rate. When they come for you keep your mouth shut and your legs closed. To be sure you can't keep me down unless you get down with me."They're" coming for you and your kind soon ehough. I will welcome that.

      December 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Inkman

    It is a witch hunt. East Haven borders on New Haven especially a very latin section. I can guarantee you that a lot of the force is placed along this border where by default the minority is prevalent. The fact is one side of East Haven is nice and affluent with low crime and the other side is impoverished and full of crime. And that is some how the police departments fault?

    December 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Chris

    Rudy,

    Nope, but I do have my care registered in my name. I am able to do so because I am in this country legally.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • rudy

      news flash every person with tan skin is not here illegally genius, you cant even see how stupid that sounds ms-13
      there's another scare tactic to create hate, take a good look in the mirrior do you like what you see ????????

      December 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      RUDY– you spit, shout and rave a lot in your posts, but you don't really say too much in any of them....

      December 21, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        Newsflash, Rudy. Hispanics account for 6 out of every 7 illegal aliens in this country right now. Newsflash, Rudy, illegal immigrants cost the American education system $27 billion last year in anchor-baby ecducation costs that the taxpayers got to foot the bill for. Newsflash, Rudy, Hispanics account for less than 33% of the population, but account for an overwhelming majority of violent crimes in this country.

        Nobody is saying all Hispanics are bad people, but a majority of the bad people are Hispanics. Those are the facts. And to not act upon those facts is not only foolhardy and counterproductive, but it dsplays a total loss of common sense in our legislators today.

        December 21, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  26. rudy

    its ashame to know thats there is still ignorant people like you in this world like you jenifer,gort1 chris, i bet you go to church every sunday and think your just gods gift dont ya he see's all

    December 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Chris

    I guess the DOJ didn't know that Latinos where in the state illegaly and using plates from other cars or having their legal friends register the cars in their names. They also had out of state plates while living in CT.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Gort1

    Really???????????????????? this is just shocking..................NOT.....i I didnt even know Latinos were allowed in Connecticut unless they were gardners or housekeepers or nannies....

    December 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Pretty ignorant remarks, but yes, we have a decent sized Latino population here in CT.

      This isn't news, people. If it were an article about a police department who isn't profiling to some degree, then it would be newsworthy. Sad, but it's everywhere.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • MICHELLE

      At least Hispanics come here to work white men are raping and taking the innocence of poor boys! You must be so proud!

      December 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • One+One=Too

        True. Hide your boys, hide your little girls, hide your husband!!.

        December 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • mike zaldivar

        OUCH!!!!

        December 21, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  29. Jennifer

    it seems like the only one who is not doing their job, is the DOJ

    December 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      By trying to curb illegal immigration?

      December 21, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |