500 Tacos Delivered—Now Let’s Hold the Mayor and Police Accountable

Credit: Melissa Bailey, The New Haven Independent

This post originally appeared on Reform Immigration for America.

Yesterday, we delivered the 500 tacos you sent to Mayor Joe Maturo of East Haven, Connecticut. Your response was far more than we expected. So far, more than 4,500 people have texted us and instead of sending the rest of the tacos to the mayor, we’re going to host a community dinner in your honor.

But this story isn’t over.

When we delivered the tacos to mayor, he ran out the back door to avoid us. And, in an interview set to air on WFSB-TV this weekend, the mayor’s comments continue to be tone deaf:

“I was voted in for my 11th year. I have an obligation as the leader of our community to do what is right for our community.”

“I’m going to be a better leader and we are going to heal. We are going to make East Haven a great place to live.”

East Haven cannot “heal” or be a “great place to live” until the institutional racism that plagues the town is gone. Mayor Maturo isn’t going anywhere. But the chief of police, Leonard Gallo, is another story.

Gallo, chief of police during Mayor Maturo’s first term from 1998-2007, was placed on administrative leave in 2010 when the U.S. Department of Justice investigated his police force. Because of the abuse by police under Gallo, Hispanics in East Haven have been fleeing the city for years.

When Mayor Maturo was re-elected in November 2011, Gallo was reinstated as chief of police despite the ongoing Department of Justice Investigation. Gallo immediately allowed the police force to return back to its old habits:

Chief Gallo immediately restricted access to officers by the local commission that oversees the police. A scathing report by the Justice Department in December said Mr. Gallo and other officers created a hostile and intimidating environment for persons who wished to cooperate with our investigation.

We can’t stand for this anymore. Thousands of Latinos will still go to bed tonight living in fear of the very police department that’s supposed to protect them. If Mayor Maturo wants to move forward together, as he’s said he wants to do, he must get rid of Gallo.

Send a message to Mayor Maturo now. Tell him Gallo has to go. Sign our petition to get rid of the East Haven chief of police to send a clear message that racial profiling won’t be tolerated.

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