Remember when Bill Cosby used to host “Kids Say the Darnedest Things?” On Tuesday, East Haven Connecticut Mayor Joseph Maturo starred in his own, self-created episode of “Mayors Say the Stupidest things.”
Earlier in the day, the FBI arrested four members of the East Haven police department on charges of violating the civil rights of the Latino community for harassing and racially profiling residents. The town was already experiencing growing racial tensions as the Latino population more than doubled in the preceding decade. It now makes up roughly 10% of the population.
Maturo, who has stood by his police chief and the police department said that he doesn’t believe that the police had done anything wrong. However, the real damage was done when he was asked what he would do to repair relations with the Latino community.
“I might have tacos when I go home, I’m not sure yet,” answered Mayor Maturo.
The reporter, obviously irritated by the remark and somewhat bewildered by the comment, continued to seek clarification about the remark and openly challenged the Mayor’s insensitivity.
Members of the community have also begun to openly revolt against the mayor. Even Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy issued a statement that described Maturo’s comments as “repugnant.”
“[His comments] represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community,” continued the Governor.
Maturo, who is no novice when it comes to the position he currently holds, was first elected into office in 1997 and served ten years before being voted out by a slim margin in 2007. He won back the office in April of 2011.
During the four years he was not mayor, accusations of racial profiling came to light, federal authorities launched an investigation, and the police chief was suspended. After retaking his position, Maturo re-instated the police chief.
“I might go out and have a Latino dinner in the Latino community,” said Maturo during the disasterous interview. “There’s nothing wrong with that…. I don’t think this is a systemic problem with our police department nor within our community.”