East Haven Police Chief Steps Down

The retirement is effective on Friday and comes amid a federal racial profiling probe.

East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo is retiring, effective on Friday. 

The announcement comes as the FBI is investigating alleged police discrimination against Latinos in East Haven and said there could be additional arrests in the case.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo said Gallo told him on Friday that he would retire and submitted his notice on Monday morning. 

Gallo's attorney, Jonathan Einhorn, said the chief is stepping down after 14 years because of the federal probe into the department, but that his client he has neither participated in nor condoned racial profiling.

"He is retiring from this position for one reason alone: that is his desire not to be a distracting element in East Haven's efforts to rehabilitate its image both upon its citizens and the general public," Einhorn said.

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.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Chief of Criminal Justice Police director said the state is ready with troops if more arrests are made in the East Haven Police Department.

Einhorn said there is a civil lawsuit pending against Gallo in United States District Court and there is the potential for criminal charges by the United States Justice Department.

"Chief Gallo will be vindicated in the civil case against him, and should he be charged in the federal criminal case, we will successfully defend against any such charges. He is not guilty of any wrongdoing in either the civil action or potentially in any criminal action" He should not be arrested, and if arrested, he will be acquitted of any charges," Einhorn said. 

Gallo is delaying his retirement until Friday to agree upon a retirement package from the town, Einhorn said. 

Deputy Chief John Mannion will serve as interim chief and there will be a search committee to find a new chief. 

"The new Chief must possess the ability to effectively restructure the Department; implement suggested reforms; and reach out to and work closely with members of all segments of the East Haven Community to build trust between the Community and the Department," Maturo said.  

As the investigation goes on, Frederick Brow, chairman of East Haven’s police commission is also calling for Gallo to be dismissed for what he called a "breakdown in control" of the police department. 

More than 15,000 East Haven residents have signed an online petition, asking that Gallo be replaced and additional residents are also speaking out about the allegations the police department is facing.

“I think it's pretty despicable, actually. I really do,” long-time East Haven resident Lindsay Kelsey said.

“If that is the case, you would like everyone brought to justice and no one should be above the law if in fact the law was broken," resident Peter Sanchez said.

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