Priest Turns Tables on Police

Charges were dropped against a priest who was arrested for videotaping East Haven Police officers he claimed were harassing Latino store owners but now Rev. James Manship has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice.

"It's kind of an irony too, if you think about it. It took a white, Roman Catholic priest to get arrested to bring this out in the light." said Manship, of St. Rosa of Lima Church in New Haven.

Moments after the charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with East Haven police were dropped, Manship filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. The move will lead to an investigation into alleged racial profiling inside the police department.

Manship says it will also put fresh eyes on an old problem and "get outside agencies to take a look at what's going on with the East Haven Police Department."

The priest was arrested last month inside of My Country Store while he was videotaping police as they removed license plates from the walls. Manship said the video is proof of the alleged police harassment against Hispanic business owners and their customers. 

Marcia Chacon, who owns the store, said she is relieved that Manship is off the hook, but she fears her troubles might just be getting started.

"We feeling happy that the father's charges are dropped, but we're concerned about what happens with the police reaction," Chacon said.

Still, church members said the Hispanic community in East and New Haven are prepared to fight through their fear to make a difference.

"I want to be very clear, there is a climate of fear but people are saying enough is enough," Angel Fernandez a pastoral council for St. Rosa of Lima, said.

They also want change, but Manship said it'll take more than a change in the rule books for true transformation.

"You really cant fix racism by laws, it's about the heart," Manship said.

The attorney representing the East Haven Police Department, Hugh Keefe did not want to comment on the complaint.

“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. 

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