Moral Low Ground

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East Haven, Connecticut Mayor Joseph Maturo’s Hispanic Outreach Plan: “I Might Have Tacos”

On Tuesday, four East Haven, Connecticut police officers were arrested by federal agents after years of abuse against the town’s Hispanic population. Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari, Jason Zullo and police union president Sgt. John Miller– known as “The Miller Boys” among the force– beat people while they were in handcuffs, unlawfully searched Hispanic businesses and harassed and intimidated witnesses, advocates and even other officers who attempted to investigate or report their colleagues’ wrongdoing.

In the wake of the officers’ arrests, East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo was asked about how he intended to reach out to the town’s besieged Hispanic community.

“I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet,” he mockingly quipped.

WPIX reports that Maturo’s wisecrack drew a harsh rebuke from Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy:

“The comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo are repugnant. They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable. Being tired is no excuse. He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he’s going to do to repair the damage he’s done. And he needs to do it today.”

Maturo’s apology? He lamely pointed out that he’s “visited Puerto Rico” and that he “may have spaghetti” since he’s Italian.

UPDATE: Mayor Maturo has released the following statement:

“My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-collar comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz yesterday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department.”

“Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example.”

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