Some East Haven police investigated by feds

East Haven (AP) - Federal authorities are conducting a criminal investigation of certain members of the police department, which is already the subject of a civil inquiry into allegations police harassed and abused Hispanic residents, town officials said.

East Haven Mayor April Capone said a task force of FBI agents is trying to interview department members as part of the criminal probe that began two months go. She said city officials have cooperated with the Justice Department's civil investigation and will continue to help with the criminal one.

Capone says the criminal investigation is not aimed at the entire police department.

Some police officers have received subpoenas to appear before a grand jury, said Town Attorney Patricia Cofrancesco. Federal investigators also subpoenaed personnel files of police officers, she said.

Cofrancesco said she believed the criminal probe stemmed from the allegations that sparked the civil investigation.

"I'm saddened by the turn of events, but at the same time I welcome the Department of Justice in getting to the truth," Cofrancesco said.

A justice department spokeswoman declined comment. A message was left for an FBI spokesman.

Authorities have been investigating racial profiling and abuse allegations against East Haven police, who are accused of harassing and beating Latino residents. Police Chief Leonard Gallo, who is on administrative leave, has denied the allegations.

St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, where many Hispanics in East Haven worship, filed a complaint last year that led to the Justice Department investigation, which is looking at more than 20 allegations of brutality, profiling and other police misconduct.

The Justice Department's initial findings in its ongoing investigation say the police department lacks modern rules of conduct for officers and written guidance on the use of force.

The federal agency cited concerns that the police department may not require officers to thoroughly report all uses of force.

The findings also said the police department offers limited training, does not appear to have a system that allows supervisors to detect potential patterns of at-risk conduct by officers, and has a flawed citizen complaint and internal investigation process.

In October, a group of East Haven residents also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming frequent profiling of Hispanics and harassment by police.


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