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Before talking to the police, GET AN ATTORNEY

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Time: 3:23 PM

Today's article on the incident at the Danbury Fair carnival sounded the alarm bells at HatCityBLOG central.
A police investigator said Tuesday that several "independent witnesses" have contradicted allegations that police officers used excessive force in breaking up a brawl at the Danbury Fair mall carnival that resulted in the arrests of eight young people earlier this month

Lt. Edward Lopes, who is conducting an internal review of officers' actions during the incident, said that written statements from a half-dozen carnival employees and people who were at the mall back up the officers' version of the events.

"Quite to the contrary of the complainants, police were not the aggressors," Lopes said. "One person clearly saw a female spit on a police officer."
This quote knocked the alarm bell off the wall...
Lopes said he is committed to "using every resource available" to find out what happened.

In addition to taking statements from witnesses, Lopes said he has even been checking YouTube to see if anyone posted footage of the brawl on the Internet video site.

"If someone has something, I want to see it," Lopes said. He urged anyone with information about the incident to contact him at (203) 797-4504.

Whoa there, put that phone down!

NOTE TO ANYONE WHO WAS A WITNESS WHO HAS FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE INFORMATION SURROUNDING THE EVENT AT THE DANBURY FAIR CARNIVAL AND/OR WAS ARRESTED BY THE POLICE: Before going to the police (or talking to the media), I beg you to please, please, please TALK TO AN ATTORNEY.

• If you were arrested, the LAST thing you should be doing is issuing statements to the police and/or media without legal representation offering you some solid advice.

• If you were a witness with first-hand knowledge, it's best that you seek the defense attorney with your evidence especially if you evidence supports the defendants' claims. This is not to say that you SHOULDN'T go to the police, it's just that you want to make sure that everyone sees the same information especially if your information supports the defendants' claims

For example, I hope these people had a lawyer with them when they talked to the media.
"It was crazy. People were just walking to their cars. Police were pulling girls by the hair and throwing them to the ground," said 16-year-old Katherine Caban, whose brother, Ben Mejias, was charged.

Mejias, 20, of Bethel, charged with breach of peace and criminal trespass, was a participant in the fight that preceded the other arrests, police said, and was also the person who uttered a series of racial slurs while being processed in the department's booking room.

Mejias said he didn't start the fight, and was only defending himself after being attacked by two or three other individuals.

"They ran away and the police grabbed me," he said. "I felt like everything that happened was uncalled for."
Trust me, you do yourself no good issuing comments to the media before consulting with an attorney when there is a case pending against you. You do yourself no good if you were a witness to the event and are issuing comments to the media before consulting with an attorney.

Remember what we're talking about here. This isn't a traffic violation case...we're talking about a case in which it is alleged that the police department used racial slurs and used excessive force on people while breaking up a fight at the carnival. This is a very serious matter so if you were arrested, it would be in your best interest to treat it as a serious matter and not do or say anything that can come back to haunt you at a later point.

Forget about public opinion, the anti-immigrant bigoted idiots who pollute the News-Times boards, forget about the idiotic News-Times poll on the incident. The ONLY thing that matters in a criminal trial is evidence and statements and if your one of those who were arrested ANYTHING that you say or do CAN be used against you in a court of law.

Last night, I had the opportunity to interview Attorney Caryn Mullin, one of the lawyers representing several of the defendants in the case, to get her opinion on why witnesses and defendants should first seek the advice of an attorney.

If you are a witness to the events at the Danbury Fair Carnival incident AND have first hand knowledge or information (i.e. cell phone video/audio) AND/OR you are someone who was arrested, you can call Attorney Caryn Mullin at 203.798-8434.

Know your rights before you open your mouth.

posted by ctblogger at 3:23 PM | Permalink|

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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

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Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
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3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

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NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

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