An East Haven, Conn., mayor is hot water today after saying he would connect with his town’s Latino community by having tacos for dinner.
His comments came hours after four East Haven police officers were arrested Tuesday by the FBI for civil rights violations after allegedly using excessive force against Latinos.
When asked by a reporter what he would do for the Latino community, Mayor Joseph Maturo responded, “I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet.”
And when the reporter pointed out that “that’s not really the comment to say right now,” Maturo dug himself into an even deeper hole.
“I might have spaghetti tonight, being of Italian descent,” he said. “I could go out and have, I’ve had ethnic food and when you asked me what I was doing for Latinos tonight, I may go out and have a Latino dinner in the Latino community. There’s nothing wrong with that. And you can twist it and turn it whichever way the press decides to do.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was quick to condemn the comments, saying in a statement this morning that Maturo’s statements were “repugnant” and “unacceptable.”
“They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable,” Malloy said. “Being tired is no excuse. He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he’s going to do to repair the damage he’s done. And he needs to do it today.”
Maturo apologized shortly afterward today in both a radio interview and an official statement.
“It was stupid, it was insensitive and I gave my detractors … a reason to make matters worse with a `gotcha’ and an insensitive and stupid answer to something I should have never said,” Maturo said on WPLR-FM, according to the Connecticut Post.