NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The FBI on Tuesday arrested four East Haven police officers on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges following an investigation into possible civil rights violations.
Federal law enforcement officials said in indictment papers that Officers Dennis Spaulding, David Cari and Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller executed unreasonable searches and seizures, used unreasonable force and concealed their actions.
Mayor Joseph Maturo said the four men were arrested at about 6 a.m. Tuesday at their homes and at the police department.
Donald Cretella, Miller's lawyer, said his client has been honored with awards and risked his life in shootouts.
"John Miller is a hero in East Haven," he said. "He's decorated. He's a wonderful family man. Hopefully, we'll clear his name."
Federal officials say the officers denied Latino residents and their advocates the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to not be arrested and detained without probable cause and the right to not be arrested on false and misleading evidence.
The officers also are accused of harassing and intimidating individuals, including advocates, witnesses and other officers who tried to investigate or report misconduct or abuse committed by the four officers.
Maturo said he backs the police.
"I stand behind the police department," he said. "We have a great police department."
The U.S. Department of Justice said last month that the police department engaged in a pattern of discrimination against Latino residents. Investigators said their probe was complicated by efforts to interfere with witnesses and by police silence.