Amid a federal investigation into allegations of racial profiling by the East Haven police officers, Chief Leonard Gallo decided to retire. He packed up his office and turned in his company car.
“At this point, he really wanted the town to move on. If he stayed on, he would really be a distraction. It really hurt him to leave, but he thought it was the best thing for the town,” said Jonathan Einhorn, Gallo’s attorney.
Four East Haven officers were charged last week, accused of using excessive force, performing illegal searches and making false reports to place Latinos in custody, some of whom were allegedly beaten while they were still in custody.
Gallo was also referred to as "co-conspirator one" in the federal indictment that charges four East Haven officers with harassing the town's Latino community.
“One of things that is still hanging over his head is the specter of a criminal prosecution. Nobody really knows what's going to happen with that,” said Einhorn.
The Police Commission had recommended that the Mayor terminate Gallo instead, but he won't do that.
In a statement, Mayor Joseph Maturo said, "The statutory requirements to terminate a Chief of Police, along with the legal costs of the likely litigation in response to a decision to terminate, weigh heavily in favor of accepting the Chief's retirement as opposed to terminating his employment."
Interim Chief John Mannion is now the one who will lead the department. He has already initiated internal affairs investigations into the four officers who were arrested and is working to fix a broken department.
Maturo has said that the search for a new chief has already begun. He's looking for a candidate who will be able to lead the department through this trying time…and restore faith in the police department.