The chief of a Connecticut police department accused of mistreating Latinos and immigrants will retire, East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said Monday.
At a press conference the mayor described as “generous” the decision of Leonard Gallo, 64, to step down as top cop in East Haven, a city of a little over 30,000 residents.
Before the press conference, at Maturo’s invitation, Isiais Diaz, chairman of the Connecticut Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; state Rep. Andres Ayala Jr. (D-Bridgeport) and state Sen. Leonard Fasano, (R-North Haven) all arrived at city hall.
The politicians held a private meeting in Maturo’s office.
According to The New Haven Register, an Internet petition supporting Gallo’s firing had been signed by almost 15,000 people by Sunday night.
On Jan. 24, the FBI arrested four East Haven police officers accused of carrying out a campaign against Latino residents that included harassment, false arrests, beatings and threats against people who wanted to report the abuses.
The four accused cops have said they are not guilty of the charges.
Maturo has been the target of criticism for his lack of sensitivity toward Latinos: when he was asked last week what he would do to improve relations with the Hispanic community he said he “might have tacos.”
The chairman of East Haven’s police commission, Frederick Brow, said that that entity will vote on Tuesday on a motion for the mayor to fire Gallo instead of accepting his resignation.
If he retires normally, Gallo will receive compensation of up to $150,000 and an annual pension of almost $28,000.
The petition requesting Gallo’s firing was launched by Reform Immigration for America, the same national group that had promoted a campaign to send Maturo hundreds of tacos in protest over his comment.
In December, a separate investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division found that Gallo had helped create a hostile environment for people who cooperated with federal investigators.