Supporters of New Haven assistant police chief gathered for rall - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Supporters of New Haven assistant police chief gathered for rally on Wednesday

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Supporters of the New Haven assistant police chief rallied outside of City Hall on Wednesday (WFSB) Supporters of the New Haven assistant police chief rallied outside of City Hall on Wednesday (WFSB)

Just one day after local pastors blasted one of New Haven's top cops for calling a patrol officer a mope, those supporting him rallied outside city hall.

Assistant Police Chief Luiz Casanova has made it known he is interested in the chief's job, and his backers believe how this all played out, is political, and intended to hurt his chances.

Holding signs that read “Don’t lie about our guy,” supporters of Casanova gathered outside of City Hall on Wednesday.

Casanova was suspended for a day after he allegedly called a patrol officer an “expletive mope.”

"Yes, he used poor choice of words, but should he be crucified for the poor choice of words he used,” said New Haven State Rep. Juan Candelaria.

"I wanted to come and speak on his behalf because I wanted to speak to his character, a man I know him to be,” said Casanova’s nephew Joe Baez.

He was joined by dozens, including community activists, and even some police officers, including retired assistant chief Al Vazquez who served with Casanova on the command staff.

There were also members of the Fair Haven Immigrant Community, where Casanova, a one-time district manager there, met with them as part of the community policing concept.

"We were able to have a dialogue in the basement of St. Roma of Lima, with the police, interacting with the immigrant community and with our own language,” said Fatima Rojas, of New Haven.

Wednesday’s rally came one day after the Greater New Haven Clergy Association took issue with Casanova’s use of the term "mope", which they say recent police recruit classes have been told not to use, saying it refers to someone who's uneducated and who doesn't contribute to society.

"The word is derogatory, belittling, and thoroughly dehumanizing to anyone whom it is used to describe,” said Reverend Boise Kimber, of the Greater New Haven Clergy Association.

That group is supporting interim Chief Anthony Campbell for the permanent position, but those at Wednesday’s rally, feel they've gone too far.

"Folks are entitled to support whomever you want for position of police chief, but you are not entitled to ruin the man's reputation. You're not entitled to that,” said Attorney Michael Jefferson.

"This is a character assassination, this is a political persecution against an individual we all know if vying for the chief of police,” Candelaria said.

Supporters of Casanova and the mayor will meet next week to discuss their concerns about the investigation. 

As for the position of police chief, the city hopes to have a permanent pick in place sometime next year.

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