East Haven Mayor, After Latino Remarks, to Get 500 Tacos

Jan 26, 2012 11:53am

After the mayor of East Haven, Conn., quipped that he would rebuild relations with his town’s Latino community by having tacos for dinner, an immigration rights group today said it will help those inflammatory dinner plans come true.  The mayor’s remarks followed news that four of the town’s policemen had been charged with abusing the rights of Latinos.

Reform Immigration for America in Washington, D.C., will deliver 500 beef tacos to Mayor Joseph Maturo’s office at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The group launched a “text for taco” campaign Wednesday, asking people to text “Taco” to 69866 to show support for the East Haven Latino community and condemn Matruo’s comments.

“We want to make it very, very clear that the mayor’s language is not only offensive but it is inappropriate,” said Henry Fernandez, the local spokesman for Reform Immigration for America.

The mayor’s “taco” remarks on Tuesday came just hours after three East Haven police officers and one  sergeant were arrested for allegedly racially profiling and discriminating against Latinos following a three-year-long FBI investigation. They have been charged with “conspiracy against rights” for conspiring to “injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate” Latinos, conducting illegal searches and making false arrests, according to the indictment.

By Thursday morning more than 2,200 people had texted their support to send the mountain of tacos to Maturo. Despite the groups pledge to send one taco for every text, Fernandez said they capped the delivery at 500, the “sheer capacity” of which “will make the point.”

“This thing has really blown up from what we thought was a snarky way to send a  message to the mayor into an opportunity for a large number of people, and an incredibly rapidly growing number of people, to make it clear that they believe people’s civil rights should be protected all the time,” Fernandez said.

The group plans to leave one taco with the mayor “as a challenge to work with the local community,” said Latrina Kelly, the interim director of Junta for Progressive Action who is coordinating the delivery from New Haven.

Kelly said they plan to donate the other 499 tacos to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. All 500 tacos were ordered from a local Mexican restaurant.

Maturo has apologized for his remarks multiple times over the past two days, but stood by his arrested officers, saying they are innocent until proven guilty.

Maturo declined to comment on Thursday’s taco delivery.

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