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No justice, no peace

New Haven and Hamden residents rally in front of Hamden Police Department to demand justice

Kaye Paddyfote

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Hamden Residents are frustrated with their police department. Last February, Hamden resident, Victor Medina led Hamden Police on a chase after he ran a red light. Officer Andrew Lipford tried to pull him over, but Medina did not stop. The chase ended at his home.

Shortly after arriving at Medinas home, Lipford threatened Medina.

“If you do something that you are not told, you’re gonna get shot.” Yelled Lipford

What has residents upset is that the sergeant on the scene said to Medina’s passenger, “Three words I-C-E.”

Hamden Police are still investigating the situation internally, but some think change needs to happen sooner, rather than later. A rally was held last Thursday outside of the Hamden Police Department, those in attendance demanding justice.

“The community is aware of the actions of the police department, and it’s not the first time that we heard an officer is being racist with a minority resident,” John Lugo, co-founder of Unidad Latina en Accion, said at the rally. “It’s important for them to know that we are aware and we are willing to speak up and also to call on people to help us pass a law.”

Lugo is referring to the Connecticut Trust Act, which prohibits law enforcement from honoring certain immigration detainers. This act was approved in 2014. When the footage of the sergeant spelling out I-C-E went public, some said that there needs to be an even stronger Trust Act in Hamden and even across the state.

Chris Garaffa, a Connecticut organizer for the ANSWER coalition, which is a national anti-war protest group, was present at the rally and spoke in front of the crowd.

“Police should not be working with immigration, they should not be having people deported, that is not their role,” he said.

The legislature’s judiciary committee held a public hearing on Friday, March 8, 2019. They talked about making changes to the Trust Act and reducing misdemeanor sentences for immigrants. Senate Bill 992 would prohibit Connecticut law enforcement from taking someone into custody based on a detainer from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It would also clarify the existing law to specify that judicial marshals can only honor immigration detainers if they are accompanied by a court warrant.

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