I’m starting to feel like the number one advice given to every GOP politician by strategists these days is “if you mess, blame the press.” From a party that supposedly champions personal responsibility and accountability, we’ve watched Sarah Palin whine about the “lame stream media” because she was grossly unprepared to answer the kinds of questions legitimately asked of a vice-presidential candidate (of course, now she’s quite happily raking in the bucks as a member of the LSM).
Then we had to watch the family values hypocrite Gingrich explode in self-righteous rage when called on his hypocrisy during the SC CNN debate. It goes down so much better with the base to blame the press for twisting your words than to admit that you’re pretty twisted yourself. And now, Connecticut has its own claim to “Beat the Press” fame, the guy who has gained national recognition from Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire as possible winner of the “dumbest mayor ever” award – East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr.
On Tuesday, the F.B.I arrested East Haven police Sgt. John Miller and three of his officers serving under him, David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo, on charges of conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice. The indictment comes a month after a scathing report by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division , which found that the EHPD engages in a pattern or practice of systematically discriminating against Latinos in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Title VI, and the Safe Streets Act.
The DOJ report, detailed concerns that East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo condoned and enabled the alleged behavior, a complained echoed in the indictment, which refers to a “Co-Conspirator 1” protecting the arrested officers and preventing them from investigation into their misconduct. Gallo’s lawyer, Jon Einhorn, admits that Co-Conspirator 1 is likely Gallo.
Gallo had been placed on administrative leave in 2010 by former East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon. When Maturo was re-elected last November by 34 votes, he reinstated Gallo, despite the ongoing Federal investigation. On Tuesday, Maturo tried to cover both of their posteriors. “It’s unfortunate that it had to come to arrests,” said Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr., whilst proclaiming his office “stands behind the East Haven Police Department.
When asked by Mario Diaz of WPIX, “What are you doing for the Latino community today?” Maturo responded with “I might have tacos when I go home.”
Anyone wonder that there’s a culture of disrespect for Latinos in his town?
When Diaz followed up with, “You realize that’s really not the comment to say right now,” instead of apologizing, Maturo went full on “lamestream media.” He doubled down on his stupidity and then said, “You can twist it and turn it, whichever way the press decides to do…Make it sound however reporters want it to sound.”
Hate to break this to you, Mr. Mayor, but we reporters don’t to need to twist it or turn it at all to make you sound like a low-IQ bigot. Your words speak for themselves without any editing whatsoever. Let’s just roll the tape.
Because then, to add insult to injury, you decide to double down on the denial and ass-covering. “I don’t think this is a systemic problem within our police department nor within our community.”
Despite the results lengthy DOJ investigation, detailing the systemic problems in the police department run by the guy you returned to leadership despite serious question marks, you want to blame the press. Gotcha.
In a later interview with Laurie Perez on FoxCT , Maturo took a different tack. “It was a shallow question and I gave it a shallow answer.” Perez disputed that asking what he was going to do for the Latino community was a shallow question. Maturo became quite indignant, complaining that he had four of his police officers arrested that day. Oh poor diddums. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show some sympathy for the victims of their alleged crimes?
Maturo’s response, not to mention his reappointment of Gallo when he was already under investigation for this and other improprieties, makes it clear that the sickness of bigotry, cronyism and unethical behavior in East Haven goes right to the top. He should resign due his gross incompetence at his job, instead of blaming the press for doing theirs.
Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.