Parishioners Acuse Cops of Brutality

Charges were dropped against a priest arrested while taping East Haven cops removing license plates from a store wall.  His parishioners have now announced they have filed a brutality complaint with the federal government.

On Feb. 19, two officers were removing what they called illegal license plates from a wall of a store owned by a Hispanic couple.  Rev. James Manship, of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven showed up at My Country Store in East Haven - video camera in hand.

He was led from the store in handcuffs and charged with interfering with a police officer and creating a public disturbance.

But he captured the entire incident on camera.  And there was a discrepency between what the police officer on the scene wrote in his report and what the videotape shows.

Thursday, Connecticut prosecutors dropped the charges.

However, Manship’s parishioners said Thursday that they filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department seeking an investigation of East Haven police for alleged brutality and racial profiling of Hispanics.

"East Haven Latino resident (sic) and visitors have been subject to violence at the hands of police officers in arrests, detentions and otherwise routine operations," the group wrote in a summary of the complaint to the Department of Justice. "Officers have unnecessarily escalated ordinary encounters with violent confrontations, including beating people in custody."  

Hugh Keefe, a lawyer for the police department, declined to comment, saying he wanted to see the complaint first.

“It is not unusual for a situation such as this, to go the route of a Department of Justice complaint. East Haven, like many other Towns, has been through this process before and been given a ‘clean bill of health’. I respect the Department of Justice process and I look forward to its findings,” Mayor April Capone said in a news release. 

Manship has said he believed East Haven police officers have been unfairly targeting Latinos and their businesses for some time.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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