HARTFORD, Conn. – A police chief in Connecticut whose department is under federal investigation for allegations of racial profiling failed to appear at a related hearing Monday that he'd been subpoenaed to attend.
East Haven police Chief Leonard Gallo was supposed to testify before the state's Freedom of Information Commission, said two Yale Law School students who are representing some Hispanic residents whose complaints led to the federal probe.
For nearly a year, the U.S. Justice Department has been investigating allegations of racial profiling and brutality by police officers in East Haven, a suburb of New Haven. The law students allege the police department failed to fully comply with a request made in March for records on how it investigates allegations of ethnic profiling and police abuse.
They said a subpoena was delivered last week to Gallo's home, as well as the police department. Gallo told the New Haven Register that he never received the subpoena.
Gallo, who is on administrative leave, questioned how he could be held responsible for fulfilling the records request when he is not allowed to go to the police station, the Register reported.
Gallo didn't return messages from The Associated Press.
Town Attorney Patricia Cofrancesco said at Monday's hearing that town officials didn't at first understand the public records request, but now they do and will release the records. The law students said Monday they will ask a judge to order Gallo to testify.
The students, Tafari Lumumba and Manuel Giner, are representing St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, where many Hispanics in East Haven worship. The church filed a complaint last year that led to the Justice Department investigation, which is looking at more than 20 allegations of brutality, profiling and other police misconduct.
The police department lacks modern rules of conduct for officers and written guidance on the use of force, initial findings from the Justice Department said. It cited concerns that the police department may not require officers to thoroughly report all uses of force.
The Justice Department also said the police department offers limited training, does not appear to have a system that allows supervisors to detect potential patterns of at-risk conduct by officers, and has a flawed citizen complaint and internal investigation process.