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EAST HAVEN, Conn. – The East Haven police department, currently under federal investigation for racial profiling, particularly against Latinos, has installed new dashboard cameras in its cruisers in an attempt to catch any wrongdoing.
The federal investigation has led to criminal charges against four officers.
The New Haven Register reports that the Town Council recently approved spending $115,000 to install cameras in 16 police cars now, and two more in the future.
The chairman of the town's Board of Police Commissioners, Joe Civitello, says cameras can help show what really happened in the event officers are sued or questioned over their actions.
Interim Police Chief Brent Larrabee says local officers wanted cameras to rebut allegations and complaints against them. He says that's unusual because many police departments fight to keep cameras out of cruisers.
Four town officers were charged in January with abusing and harassing Latino residents and business owners in East Haven.
The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators called for an investigation of the mayor for what the group alleges was his role in creating anti-Latino hostility in the community.
The group’s call followed the arrests of the four town officers who have been accused of waging a campaign against Latinos that included beatings and false arrests. The officers have pleaded not guilty.
The legislators’ caucus said the mayor also had to be made accountable for the alleged conspiracy to violate the rights of Latinos. The mayor, Joseph Maturo, Jr., further fueled the outrage in the local Latino community when, answering a reporter’s question about what he would do for local Latinos to make up for the scandal, he said he "might have tacos."
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.