East Haven settles civil rights lawsuit - WFSB 3 Connecticut

East Haven settles civil rights lawsuit

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The mayor of East Haven announced a settlement on Monday between civil rights defendants and the town.

Mayor Joseph Maturo, along with several town officials, were on hand to discuss the Chacon v. Town of E.H. federal suit.

The town agreed to pay the defendants $450,000 and agreed to adopt a policy that limits the East Haven Police Department's involvement in the enforcement of civil immigration laws.

"We are very happy to be finished with this long struggle for the recognition of our rights, and look forward to moving on with our lives," said Marcía Chacón, an East Haven business owner and a plaintiff in the case. "My husband and I run a law-abiding small business and will continue to do so. We strongly believe that this settlement will be good for the town and other business owners like us."

The policy also made East Haven the first jurisdiction in Connecticut to decline to enforce any immigration detainers.

"I wish to emphasize that this settlement agreement is in no way an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the Town or the East Haven Police Department," said Maturo in a statement. "Rather, this settlement is another important step forward in the healing process for our community and for our police family."

The town said the suit was filed on Oct. 26, 2010 by 21 defendants who claimed various civil rights violations were made by the East Haven Police Department.

After the U.S. Department of Justice released its findings, the town said it entered into a compliance agreement. It said it met every compliance deadline in the agreement.

Federal agents said Sgt. John Miller and officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo were charged with violating the civil rights of community members. Cari and Spaulding were found guilty while Miller and Zullo entered guilty pleas.

"Moving forward. With this painful chapter in our town's history coming to a close, I am confident that our community and police department will continue to heal, grow, and prosper," said Maturo.

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