Cross post from HatCityBLOG
Danbury Attorney Dan Casagrande: New York Law Jounral 03.24.11
“The city would much rather have tried the case and won it because we believe, as we have all along, that Danbury police officers had probable cause” for arrest because the laborers committed traffic violations by running into the street.
Wait, wait! According to Mayor Boughton (Dec 2006) and Chief Baker (Danbury 11 press conference in 2007), the raid on Kennedy Park was a federal operation and the city played no role in the action.
Boughton Dec 2006:
Channel 8: Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action…
Channel 30: He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planning of the raid…
Hartford Courant (Dec 2006):
A group of students at Yale Law School is expected to file suit today in federal court in a bid to find out how Homeland Security put together its sting on Sept. 19. The students want to know what role Danbury played in the operation and if the policies guiding the department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm may be unconstitutional. Their inquiry began with a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act. “We asked nicely,” said Simon Moshenberg, a second-year student from Washington, D.C. “They didn’t answer. We sued.”
In an interview Wednesday, Boughton insisted that immigration police acted alone. They notified Danbury police this summer that they’d be making some arrests this fall but offered no other details, he said.
Fairfield Weekly (a week before the lawsuit was filed):
A year ago, eleven Ecuadorian day laborers were sneakily apprehended in Danbury’s Kennedy Park by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with help from some men pretending to be contractors. They had some hard hats, a van and, according to recently uncovered information, a few Danbury police badges.
Why were the local cops assisting in a federal sting? Well, according to remarks from Danbury mayor Mark Boughton last December, they weren’t. He repeatedly said the city played no role in the ICE raid.
Simon Moshenberg, a Yale Law Student representing the “Danbury 11″ in a federal court case that began Monday, received the booking report for the arrests after placing a FOIA request. Under “arresting officer,” was the name “Lolli,” which turns out to be the name of a Danbury police officer. The Danbury News-Times quotes Chief Al Baker explaining that the arrests were initially made because of complaints about the day laborers’ effects on traffic and that Danbury police did drive the van. The department chose not to further comment on their involvement when approached by the Weekly.
Boughton elaborated in an e-mail that “the city provided logistical support to ICE,” which is “common” and “does not mean that the Danbury PD planned, organized or carried out the raid.” He stands by his comments from December.
So after years of telling the public that the city played NO PART in what happened at Kennedy Park, after the case is settled, the city now claims “that Danbury police officers had probable cause” for arrest because the laborers committed traffic violations by running into the street.”
Well, it’s just so nice that the city FINALLY admitted that they WERE involved in the raid AND that they arrested the day laborers. Oh, by the way, if the city felt so compelled that they was probable cause to ARREST the day laborers at Kennedy Park, why WEREN’T ANY OF THE DAY LABORERS CHARGED WITH ANY TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS? Why were the day laborers only charged with an immigration violation?
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, testifying under oath in a recent deposition for a civil rights lawsuit, agreed that using a traffic violation as a pretext to inquire about someone’s legal status is wrong, even though his police department rounded up a group of immigrants in 2006 on a crime they were never charged with.
In their own depositions, Danbury police officers testified that the men were picked up for an alleged traffic violation, such as “illegal use of the highway by a pedestrian,” as they approached stopped vehicles seeking workers, but the men were never charged with any such infraction, according to the booking records.
The only charge was illegal entry into the U.S., which is a federal violation.
Keep telling the public that the city settled the case because of the insurance company…in Danbury, if a public official tells a lie enough times, it becomes the truth (even when you expose the lie).
In numerous news accounts at the time of the Sept. 19, 2006 arrests, Boughton said the operation was not ordered by the city, but was rather a federal operation that Danbury assisted with, based on information he received at the time from Police Chief Alan Baker.
ICE agent James Brown, according to court documents, rejected that description. “He (Boughton) said the city did not order the operation, that ICE was already on the way. That is not correct, not for this activity that we are talking about on Sept. 19,” Brown testified.
Danbury police Lt. James Fisher, in a separate deposition, testified that Danbury police initiated the action by seeking ICE assistance, which ICE approved after the third or fourth request. ICE agent Richard McCaffrey in his deposition, said Boughton was pressuring the police chief, who pressured the department’s Special Investigations Division “to do something about” the day laborers at Kennedy Park.