When it comes to the upcoming depositions in the Danbury 11 civil rights case, although supporters of Mark Boughton would have you believe that the mayor did not mislead the public about details of the raid at Kennedy Park, a historical look at Boughton's comments paints a different picture.
On September 19 2006, the public was informed that around 6:30 in the morning, agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement disguised themselves as contractors and offered work to eleven day laborers at Kennedy Park who were looking for work. Instead of doing a job, the day laborers were arrested.
In at least three separate statements to the media, Boughton insisted that the city of Danbury played no part in the raid.
Hartford Courant 12.14.06:
In an interview Wednesday, Boughton insisted that immigration police acted alone. They notified Danbury police this summer that they'd be making some arrests this fall but offered no other details, he said.
Channel 8, Dec 2006:
Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action but didn't think there would be a problem if they did.
Channel 30, Dec 2006
He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planing of the raid…
In December 2006, students from Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at the Yale Law School filed a Freedom of Information request with the city and the Office of Homeland Security in order to obtain documents relating to the case.
Here's an interview I did with the students from Yale about their request.
In September 2007 (one year ate the incident), again I interviewed the Yale Law Student Simon Moshenburg in which he revealed new information about Danbury’s role in the raid that was disclosed in court.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
1. Information obtained from the FOI request shows a Danbury police officer as the arresting officer on booking report.
2. According to the Yale Law Students, in a brief to the court by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the federal government stated that a Danbury Police officer disguised himself as a contractor and drove the van used to pick up the day laborers.
The information obtained by the students at Yale, as well as the DHS brief to the court, seems to contradicts Boughton's 2006 statements to the public in which he claimed that Danbury played no part in the raid.
Later that same month, when the Yale Law students announced that they filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, I attended a press conference that was held by the law students as well as a press conference held by the mayor's office. At both events, the issue of Danbury’s role in the raid was brought up and the mayor's story about Danbury's involvement changed from "no part" to "logistical support."
Also, The Fairfield Weekly tried to get answers regarding the conflicting statements from Boughton…without much success.
A year ago, eleven Ecuadorian day laborers were sneakily apprehended in Danbury's Kennedy Park by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with help from some men pretending to be contractors. They had some hard hats, a van and, according to recently uncovered information, a few Danbury police badges.
Why were the local cops assisting in a federal sting? Well, according to remarks from Danbury mayor Mark Boughton last December, they weren't. He repeatedly said the city played no role in the ICE raid.
Simon Moshenberg, a Yale Law Student representing the "Danbury 11" in a federal court case that began Monday, received the booking report for the arrests after placing a FOIA request. Under "arresting officer," was the name "Lolli," which turns out to be the name of a Danbury police officer. The Danbury News-Times quotes Chief Al Baker explaining that the arrests were initially made because of complaints about the day laborers' effects on traffic and that Danbury police did drive the van. The department chose not to further comment on their involvement when approached by the Weekly.
Boughton elaborated in an e-mail that "the city provided logistical support to ICE," which is "common" and "does not mean that the Danbury PD planned, organized or carried out the raid." He stands by his comments from December.
Conflicting accounts of Danbury's involvement in the raid is only one example of questionable statements from Boughton in relation to this case. Clearly there is a world of difference between the city playing “no part” in the raid, offering ICE officials "logistical" support, and members of DanburyPD dressing up as contractors and driving the van that was used to pick up the day laborers. Boughton needs to answer for his conflicting statements in regards to this case over the years.
The people of Danbury need to be told the truth about the Danbury 11 case. As the legal price tag of this case continues to escalate, hopefully the sworn depositions of Boughton will provide answers that the residents of Danbury deserve.