East Haven Lawsuit Back in Play After Officer Convictions

By Doug Greene
|  Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013  |  Updated 9:49 PM EDT
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Plaintiffs seek changes in department as well as damages.

Plaintiffs seek changes in department as well as damages.

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The civil suit against the city of East Haven, its police department and a score of officers is back in play after a federal judge granted a motion from the plaintiffs to reinstate the case.

Judge Janet Bond Arterton had suspended the lawsuit during the criminal trial of two officers, David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, that ended last month with convictions.

One of the Yale Law School students who has been working on the case said it's about more than just money.

"The plaintiffs are also looking for non-monetary relief, which would be further changes within the East Haven Police Department, in the hopes that this kind of thing won't happen again," said Ariel Stevenson.

She said a trial could be more than a year away given the timeline the plaintiffs' lawyers are proposing.

Cari and Spaulding were convicted Oct. 21 of violating the civil rights of Latinos they arrested without cause and, in Spaulding's case, unreasonable force. They are due to be sentenced in January.

Two other East Haven police officers took plea bargains after they were arrested last year. The U.S. Department of Justice came down hard on East Haven police for manufacturing cases against Latinos along the town's border with New Haven.

Police also arrested a priest, Rev. James Manship, after he videotaped the officers during a raid of My Country Store at 677 Main Street in East Haven.

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