The FBI arrested four East Haven (Conn.) Police officers this morning for violating the civil rights of Latinos by using improper force and conducting unreasonable searches, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
East Haven PD's Sgt. John Miller and Officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo have been charged in a 10-count indictment. The violations allegedly occurred from 2007 through 2011.
Sgt. Miller allegedly "maintained and perpetuated an environment in which the use of unreasonable force and unreasonable searches and seizures was tolerated and encouraged," according to the DOJ. Officers Cari, Spaulding and Zullo allegedly conducted the searches and seizures, including unlawful searches of premises and arrests of individuals without probable cause or based on false and misleading information. Miller, Spaulding, Zullo, and another officer also allegedly used unreasonable force during lawful and unlawful arrests.
The indictment further alleges that Spaulding and Zullo "intimidated, harassed and humiliated" Latinos, including illegal immigrants.
Each of the officers has been charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Miller, Spaulding, and Zullo are also charged with one count of use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Additionally, Spaulding is charged with two counts and Cari with one count of deprivation of rights for making arrests without probable cause. Each of these counts carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Finally, Spaulding is charged with two counts and Cari with one count of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing false reports to justify the false arrests. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.