Back in Sept of 2006, ICE agents, disguised as contractors, went to Kennedy Park and picked up several day laborers who were looking for work. After being picked up, the workers were driven to Danbury Police Headquarters where they were subsequently arrested and detained.
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed a civil lawsuit against Boughton, Police Chief Al Baker, and the City of Danbury in response to an arrests alleging that the city violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436 (D. Conn. filed Sept. 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.
Boughton claimed in numerous interviews to the media back in December of 2006 that DANBURY HAD NO ROLE IN THE OPERATION THAT RESULTED IN THE ARREST OF THE DAY LABORERS ON KENNEDY PARK. It wasn't until the lawyers representing the day laborers won their FOI lawsuit against the city of Danbury was it exposed that an UNDERCOVER DANBURY POLICE OFFICER drove the van that picked up the day laborers...in other words, Danbury PD were involved with the raid.
…in short, Boughton LIED and continues to LIE about the case.
Since most people outside of Danbury are unfamiliar with this case and the mayor's long history of misleading the public regarding this immigration civil rights case, I decided to repost my write-up on Boughton's dishonesty (originally posted on HatCityBLOG back in October 2007).
This is serious.
This is not a joke.
This is not about one's view on immigration.
This is about an over-zealous mayor who has, once again, used the topic of immigration for political purposes.
This is about the local media KNOWING that the mayor mislead the public YET won't challenge the mayor on his previous statements.
This is about residents having to read news accounts from other mainstream media outlets to get the real story.
This is about honesty.
This is about integrity.
This is about trust.
Here's what Boughton said about the city's role in the 2006 ICE raid at Kennedy Park.
Hartford Courant 12.14.06
A group of students at Yale Law School is expected to file suit today in federal court in a bid to find out how Homeland Security put together its sting on Sept. 19. The students want to know what role Danbury played in the operation and if the policies guiding the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm may be unconstitutional. Their inquiry began with a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act. "We asked nicely," said Simon Moshenberg, a second-year student from Washington, D.C. "They didn't answer. We sued."
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.
Television reports on Danbury 11 case: 12.06
Channel 8: Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action...
Channel 30: He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planing of the raid...
Fairfield Weekly last week (before Boughton was slapped with a lawsuit):
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.
From October 2007, here's my interview with Simon Moshenberg, one of the Yale Law Students representing the "Danbury 11" in federal court.
1.: Information obtained from the FOI request shows Danbury police officer as the arresting officer on booking report.
2. According to defense attorney Simon Moshenberg, in brief to the court, the Department of Homeland Security states that DANBURY POLICE OFFICERS were the ones disguised as contractors and driving the van used to pick up the day laborers. This is contrary to statements Boughton made to the press in December 2006.
Video highlights of what we knew then about Danbury's role in the raid versus what we know now.
...and there's this gem from the feds and DanburyPD about Boughton's claim.
In numerous news accounts at the time of the Sept. 19, 2006 arrests, Boughton said the operation was not ordered by the city, but was rather a federal operation that Danbury assisted with, based on information he received at the time from Police Chief Alan Baker.
ICE agent James Brown, according to court documents, rejected that description. “He (Boughton) said the city did not order the operation, that ICE was already on the way. That is not correct, not for this activity that we are talking about on Sept. 19,” Brown testified.
Danbury police Lt. James Fisher, in a separate deposition, testified that Danbury police initiated the action by seeking ICE assistance, which ICE approved after the third or fourth request. ICE agent Richard McCaffrey in his deposition, said Boughton was pressuring the police chief, who pressured the department’s Special Investigations Division “to do something about” the day laborers at Kennedy Park.
• In December, Mayor Boughton (who at the time had no problem talking about the ICE raid at Kennedy Park) was repeatedly quoted in the media as stating that the city of Danbury played NO ROLE in the rounding up of day-laborers.
• Documents finally released in April via a Freedom of Information request shows that a booking report lists the arresting officer in the raid as a Danbury Police official.
• A court brief by the Department of Homeland Security states that a undercover Danbury Police officer was the individual who drove the vehicle used to pick up the day-laborers.
• One year after the raids and ten months after Mayor Boughton made his initial statement about Danbury's non-involvement in the raids, in a News-Times article, Chief Al Baker states that "...the arrests were initially made because of complaints about the day laborers' effects on traffic and that Danbury police did drive the van."
• Once having no problem talking about the incident (and hurling insults at the Yale Law Students), NOW Mayor Boughton refuses to comment on the details of the raid AND modified his stance about the city's role in the raid by stating that the city provided logistics. Again, Boughton changed his tune only AFTER attorneys for Yale unearth the documents that showed that DanburyPD drove the an used to pick up the day laborers.
At this point, the public has a right to view either the videotaped depositions and/or transcripts from Boughton, Chief Baker, and then chief of staff Mike McLachlan and learn the real facts regarding the city's participation in this case...a case in which the city just forked over 400,000 to settle the matter although the mayor stated the city played no role in the ICE operation.
Remember, the city's settlement marks the largest financial settlement in the history of civil rights actions brought by day laborers.