EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A federal judge has reopened a civil case charging 22 East Haven police officers, the town and Police Department of driving out Latinos through discrimination and intimidation.
The decision on Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton reversed her ruling in June closing the case pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
Officers David Cari and Dennis Spaulding were convicted on Oct. 21 of violating the civil rights of Hispanics; they are seeking new trials. Two other officers pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
David N. Rosen, the lawyer who's leading the court challenge against East Haven, said the ruling puts the civil suit "back on track.
"We're looking forward to pushing ahead with it all, and through a trial," he said.
Latino residents and business owners sued in October 2010, alleging their civil rights were violated as a result of "failure to stop a pattern of police brutality and anti-Latino racial profiling."
Rosen said the jury will determine any monetary award.
Mayor Joseph Maturo's office would not comment on Wednesday.
After the two officers were convicted last month, the mayor said East Haven held community meetings, offered cultural sensitivity training to town employees and provided language access tools to residents with limited English proficiency.
Police treatment of Hispanics in East Haven had been under federal scrutiny since 2009 when the U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights probe that found a pattern of discrimination and biased policing.