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Conn. mayor in trouble for ‘taco’ remark

Remark riles Latino community

The mayor of East Haven, Conn., Joseph Maturo Jr., has apologized for his flippant response to a reporter’s question about what he was doing for the Latino community in his city.

On Tuesday, four East Haven police officers were arrested by FBI agents for discriminatory policing against Latinos, CNN reported.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

They face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for charges including conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the violation of the rights of Latinos. Prosecutors allege more than 30 violations, including falsifying reports, improperly detaining Latino suspects and harassing and intimidating members of the Latino community.

In an interview about the scandal with WPIX-TV on Tuesday, the LA Times reported, journalist Mario Diaz asked Maturo, “What are you doing for the Latino community today?”

“I might have tacos when I go home. I'm not quite sure yet,” the mayor answered.

Maturo issued a full apology Wednesday, the Hartford Courant reported. "My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-collar comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz on Tuesday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department," Maturo said.

"Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example," he said.

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Earlier, the mayor had blamed his response on the fact that his conversation with Diaz was his 12th or 13th interview of the day, the Hartford Courant reported. "If it harmed anybody or hurt anybody, I apologize," Maturo said. "Yeah, it's probably a little insensitive, but it was late in the day."

Connecticut politicians and community leaders have roundly criticized Maturo for his comments. Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy told CNN that Maturo’s remarks "represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable."

"The comment not only lacks professionalism, it is also a slap in the face to the Latino community," Isaias T. Diaz, chair of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, told the Hartford Courant. "I believe in vision, vision is often cast by leadership. We have a serious issue when the leader of a city makes a remark like that in the face of such a serious investigation."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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2 comments on this story

Jan 28, 2012, 11:52 pm
-0 +0

@Bret Linden

You should let us know where these joints are at, so we can avoid.

Actually, you prolly should get out more; most Mexican restaurants around the country are owned/operated by authentic Mexican cooks, and you can get a great taco in Chicago, Des Moines, etc.

Jan 26, 2012, 11:12 am
-3 +0

What’s the problem? I like “tacos”. Well, actually real tacos with a crunchy shell. When these side-of-the-road places say they have tacos, then they give you a silver-dollar-sized tortilla with some crap on it…THAT’S NOT A TACO!!! And it always pisses me off when someone tries to market that as such!

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WPIX screengrab

Hartford, Conn., Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. told a reporter he might have tacos when WPIX-TV reporter Mario Diaz asked him, 'What are you doing for the Latino community today?'

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