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Mayor apologizes for 'taco' comment

Jan. 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

EAST HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Pressure grew Thursday for a Connecticut mayor to resign, despite his apology for saying he might "have tacos" as a way of reaching out to Hispanics.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo made the comment Tuesday while talking to a reporter for WPIX-TV, New York, about the arrest of four police officers on racial intimidation charges, The Hartford Courant reported.

When he was asked what he might do for Hispanics in East Haven, Maturo responded: "I might have tacos when I go home. I'm not quite sure yet."

Reform Immigration for America -- one of two organizations that launched Facebook campaigns Thursday intended to pressure Maturo to resign -- delivered hundreds of tacos to Maturo's office Thursday, the newspaper said.

"With this delivery, we are sending an open invitation to Mayor Maturo to start an honest dialogue with the Latino community," the group said on its Web site.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, called the Republican mayor's remarks "repugnant," and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, also a Democrat, said Maturo's comment shows how far the country still has to go on civil rights.

Maturo at first said he did not see what was wrong with suggesting he might have dinner in the Hispanic community. He issued a written statement of apology Wednesday, saying he made the remark while giving his 12th or 13th interview of the day.

"My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-color comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz yesterday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department," Maturo said.

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