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Rand Paul, Barack Obama, And East Haven CT: Harassing Air Travelers OK—But Not Illegal Aliens
Thomas E. Perez, Eric Holder's Grand Inquisitor
When Senator Rand Paul was detained by Transportation Security Agency (TSA) airport security agents on his way to Washington D.C. to address the Right to Life March, the Obama Administration stood behind the agency’s actions. It always does. Last year, it defended an intense public pat-down of a 6 year old girl as “following proper screening procedures”. In 2009, the TSA forced a 4 year old severely disabled child to remove his leg braces and walk through a scanner without assistance. Numerous other similar examples can be found.
But the Obama Administration is zealous to protect illegal aliens from similar intense scrutiny by local police officers.
On January 24, the day after TSA agents detained Senator Paul, federal agents swept down on East Haven, Connecticut, a suburb of New Haven, and arrested four police officers—Dennis Spaulding, Dennis Cari, Jason Zullo and Sergeant John Miller, the head of the police union—in a 6 AM (why was this necessary?) raid:
The East Haven officers assaulted individuals while they were handcuffed, unlawfully searched Latino businesses, and harassed and intimidated individuals, including advocates, witnesses and other officers who tried to investigate or report misconduct or abuse the officers committed, according to the federal indictment.
FBI arrests 4 officers in troubled Conn suburb, by John Christofferen, AP, Jan 24, 2012
“Harassed and intimidated individuals”? Sounds like the way the TSA treats air travelers.
But the incidents of actual alleged violence in the federal indictment, over a four year period, are frankly fairly trivial. The indictment even presents as serious evidence the fact that one of the officers apparently talked privately about "persons who have drifted to this country on rafts made of chicken wings and are now residing" in East Haven, i.e. engaged politically incorrect Crimespeak. Needless to say, if police officers can be arrested on federal charges for making negative comments about criminal suspects, we will soon be left without any police officers in the entire country. (Perhaps that’s the idea.) And, in typical legalistic fashion, much of the indictment focuses a supposed cover-up that began after federal investigations got underway.
However, the recent charges appear to be part of a federal pincer move against East Haven. In December, the U.S. Department of Justice released a “Letter of Findings Regarding East Haven Police” , claiming that the East Haven Police Department engages in "a practice or pattern of systematically discriminating against Latinos.” Tellingly, it particularly complained that the EHPD was contacting ICE to find out the immigration status of individuals arrested for traffic violations (!) and also that only one EHPD office was “fluent in Spanish.”
The primary evidence the EHPD’s “systematically discriminating”: while Hispanics now make up a bit over 10% of the town's population—doubling since 2000; East Haven is overwhelmingly white, almost half Italian—they made up a greater percentage of drivers pulled over. AP’s Christofferson reported:
Nearly half or a third of the drivers pulled over by certain officers were Latino, and the number of Latinos pulled over by certain squads was "extraordinarily high," said Roy Austin Jr., deputy assistant attorney general for the civil rights division.
But it’s not extraordinary. Federal data show Hispanics are three times as likely to commit crimes as whites. Their driving records are particularly awful. When you take into account that, in any scenario, some people will be both above and below the average, along with the likelihood that some officers were assigned to patrol more heavily Hispanic parts of town, it should not be considered unusual at all for the traffic stops of a few officers to be a third or nearly half Hispanic.
AP’s Christofferson also reported another Obama Administration claim: “Latinos who were stopped for minor violations were subjected to harsher punishments, such as arrest or vehicle towing, than were non-Latinos.”
This may sound unfair—until you consider what circumstances typically lead to arrest or vehicle towing in traffic stops. Arrests are made if a driver is found to have committed a crime, such as driving without a valid license. Vehicles are towed if it is unlawful for the driver to continue driving the vehicle—for example if the driver does not have a valid license or the vehicle is not properly registered. Illegal aliens in Connecticut, as in most states, cannot obtain drivers' licenses and Connecticut requires a valid driver's license to register a vehicle.
Thus any illegal alien stopped by police while driving in New Haven (or anywhere else) is likely to be arrested for driving without a valid license and have his unregistered vehicle towed.
So what we have here in New Haven is a handful of officers making, all things considered, an easily understandable amount of traffic stops of Hispanics. Once stopped, the Hispanics have a higher chance of being illegal aliens, who then get arrested for driving without licenses or other offenses, and who also have a higher chance of having their vehicle towed due to improper registration or other offenses.
Yet the Obama Administration arrests and accuses police officers of “unreasonable harassment, intimidation, and searches” of Hispanics based primarily on these easily explained statistics.
The Republican mayor, Joseph Maturo, supported the police officers. "I stand behind the police department," he said. "We have a great police department." After Police Chief Leonard Gallo, apparently the unnamed co-conspirator in the indictment, announced his decision to retire, Mayor Maturo said "His decision to retire at this time is a selfless act, designed to assist in the healing process," described him as a devoted public servant who "performed admirably in both his personal and professional life."
(Vindictively, Democrats controlling the police commission have just voted that Gallo be fired, depriving him of his retirement package).
Members of the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, an arm of the Connecticut state government established in 1994, have been demanding that both Chief Gallo and Mayor Maturo be forced out of their jobs.
The Main Stream Media reports, of course, do not question why the state government has such a commission in the first place—aimed at benefitting a specific race, and lobbying in supposedly federal areas of immigration and foreign affairs; or both.
But April Capone, the Democrat whom Maturo narrowly beat in 2011, gave a news conference predicting that the combination of federal litigation and tort actions could cost the town “millions and millions of dollars [Ex-mayor: Bias claims could cost town millions, AP, December 21, 2011]
She may be right. It’s almost as if the Obama Administration and the heavily Democratic plaintiff bar were colluding.
When Mayor Maturo was asked what he'd do to reassure Latino residents following the arrests of police officers on abuse and discrimination charges, he said he'd probably go out for a taco meal. Of course, in our crazy world, this casual comment has become an international scandal even bigger than the alleged police abuse—here’s a story in the London Daily Mail about it.
Maturo promptly caved in the usual way. [Tacos For Dinner? Mayor Regrets Remark About Latino Outreach, By Korva Coleman, NPR, January 25, 2012]
How much better if he’d said:
“Law-abiding Latinos have nothing to fear. The real issue here is the determination of Obama’s Minority Occupation Government and its political commissars in the Justice Department to suppress all American resistance to the illegal immigration invasion.”
Last word to the New York Times [East Haven Police Chief Retiring After Charges for Officers, by Peter Applebome, January 30, 2012]:
Some in the community stood behind Chief Gallo.
“He and the East Haven Police Department are doing their job right,” said Ferdinando Cerrato, 79, a retired barber who said he has lived in East Haven for 47 years.
The Latino influx in recent years is ruining the town, he said, adding that it is “becoming a third-world banana republic.”
James Ryan (email him) is an intelligence analyst who lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metro area.