Leonard Gallo, the Connecticut police chief under fire for anti-Latino abuse allegations that led to the arrests of four officers last week, announced his retirement on Monday.
Gallo, head of the East Haven Police Department, was suspended in April 2010 after the FBI launched a criminal investigation into accusations that Gallo created a hostile work environment for witnesses. He was then reinstated to the post in November after his friend Joseph Maturo Jr. took office as mayor, but quickly found himself back in hot water after the arrests. Maturo then did the pair no favors by saying that he "might have tacos" as a way to do something to ease the tensions between the police and the Latino community.*
The mayor had this to say about Gallo's decision to step down (via the Associated Press): "His decision to retire at this time is a selfless act, designed to assist in the healing process."
East Haven’s police commission may see it differently. Members are preparing to vote Tuesday night on whether to recommend that Gallo be fired. In retirement, Gallo will receive a severance lump sum ranging from about $130,000 to $150,000, plus an annual pension of $27,000 to $28,000. If the commission recommends that Gallo be fired -- and Maturo agreed to fire him -- Gallo would still get the pension but lose the severance pay.
Police treatment of Hispanics in East Haven has been under federal scrutiny since 2009, when the U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights probe that found a pattern of discrimination and biased policing, according to the Washington Post.
*Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post mistakenly attributed the "tacos" comment to the police chief. It was the mayor who delivered the controversial line.