Conn. Cop Crew Terrorized Latinos: FBI

4 officers hit with conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force charges
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2012 3:00 AM CST
Conn. Cop Crew Terrorized Latinos: FBI
US Attorney David B. Fein listens as Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez speaks about an indictment charging four East Haven police officers with federal civil rights offenses.   (AP Photo/The Connecticut Post, Ned Gerard)

A crew of Connecticut cops terrorized a Latino community in East Haven by detaining them with little or no reason, then slapping and kicking them in handcuffs, federal prosecutors say. A priest who complained was harassed, and store security videos that captured the cops were destroyed, reports the New York Times. Officers even turned on their own when word was out that the Justice Department was investigating. A picture of a rat was pinned to a police bulletin board with the threatening note: "You know what we do with snitches," according to an indictment unsealed yesterday.

Sgt. John Miller and three of his officers—known as "Miller's Boys"—have been hit with several charges, including conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force, and obstruction of justice for years of mistreatment of residents, according to the indictment. An FBI spokesman said the cops were a "cancerous cadre that routinely deprived East Haven residents of their civil rights." All have pleaded not guilty. Miller's lawyer said that "nothing in the indictment is a surprise," adding that his client would be vindicated. The cops, said one resident, "wanted to cause problems. We come here to work and have a family," she added. "This is our city. I'm a citizen; my kids are citizens." (More Connecticut stories.)

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