Department under fire, top cop quits

Jan. 30, 2012 at 8:07 PM

EAST HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The police chief in East Haven, Conn., whose department is embroiled in allegations four officers violated Hispanics' civil rights, resigned Monday.

While Len Gallo announced he was leaving his post, the head of the city's police commission said he wanted the chief fired instead so Gallo couldn't collect unused vacation and sick time that could exceed $100,000, the Hartford Courant reported.

Gallo isn't the only city official Hispanic activists want to see out of a job. They asked East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo to step down. The newspaper said there was no indication Maturo would comply.

Maturo's lawyer says he is an unnamed co-conspirator in the indictment last week of the four officers accused of harassing and racially profiling Hispanics. The mayor fanned the flames when he made an insensitive comment about going home to eat tacos after being asked what he might do to ease the tensions between the Latino community and the police department.

Rather than quit, Maturo said he intends to establish a search committee to find Gallo's replacement. He named Deputy Chief John Mannion to the top post until a new chief is hired.

"I expect the road ahead to be difficult," Maturo said, calling Gallo's resignation an "unselfish act."

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