This is unreal...
In a story this week about the federal Secure Communities or S-Comm program, I referred to a 2007 case involving the arrest of undocumented immigrants in Danbury. The city of Danbury earlier this year paid $400,000 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of those immigrants.
But I mistakenly attributed the arrest to the Danbury police. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton informed me via email about the error, saying that two different immigration courts “have ruled that the ‘Danbury 11’ were not arrested by Danbury Police Department, they were arrested by [U.S.] Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The involvement of the Danbury police was to have one of their officers pose as a contractor looking for day workers. He drove to a location where immigrants often wait hoping for work, picked up 11 people and, instead of taking them to a job site, delivered them to ICE agents and it was the feds who made the arrest.
For a paper like the Fairfield Weekly to allow Boughton to get away with this statement is remarkable because the mayor was signing a different tune about Danbury's role in the immigration raid at Kennedy Park to The Weekly (as well as the Hartford Courant, WTNH, and WVIT) between 2006-2011.
Mark Spencer, 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.
WTNH, Dec. 2006:
Boughton said the city played no part in the September 19th action...
WVIT, Dec. 2006:
He [Boughton] said the city was not involved in the planing of the raid...
Fairfield Weekly Oct 2007 (APROX. TEN MONTHS AFTER BOUGHTON MADE THE DEC 2006 STATEMENTS and after information in court revealed that Danbury PD was directly involved in the raid):
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.
Keep in mind that Boughton stated to the Fairfield Weekly that he "stands by his comments from December " when you read what he said UNDER OATH during his deposition in the Danbury 11 case.
Line 8-12, page 248:
Q. Do you agree that the immigration police acted alone?
A. No. I've always said that the Danbury Police Department provided logistical support to the federal law enforcement agency.
Line 20 to line 25 page 249:
Q. As we sit here today, do you agree with the statement that there was no specific planning with the City prior to September 19, 2006?
A Again, I haven't seen any information either way to wither debunk or to affirm that statement.
Here's my favorite…line 10 page 252:
Q. These arrests generated quite a bit of controversy, correct?
Q. And that controversy included disagreements in the press with statements that you were making; is that correct?
(City Attorney) MR. CASAGRANDE: Wait a minute.
Read that back.
(Whereupon, the question was read back)
MR. CASAGRANDE: Object to the form.
A. Disagreements with who?
Q. The press was reporting a different story as to what happened that you were being reported as having said about what happened; is that correct?
A. I don't know what you are talking -- you have to restate that.
Q. Did the press report a different story as to what happened on September 19 than what you said happened on September 19?
A. There were, I'm going to guess, dozens upon dozens of press accounts of what happened. None of them have been right. Many of them never talked to me. There are press accounts that were written today that are completely inaccurate as to what --- from what limited information I know, which I shared with you already happened.
So if you're going to rely to be the press as the arbiter of the exact sequence of events that day, you're going to chase your tail all day with that. They're never accurate. They're never right, and particularly now, because papers have been decimated with reporting, they don't do a lot of reporting. So to answer your question, there certainly have been inconsistencies right up until three months ago in terms of the accounts of what happened that day.
A. And were there specifically controversy about whether what you said happened was different from what actually happened?
MR. CASAGRANDE: Objection.
A. I don't recall any controversy.
So after he stated to the Weekly in 2007 that he "stands by his comments from December " where he "insisted that immigration police acted alone", "the city played no part in the September 19th action", and "the city was not involved in the planing of the raid", when placed under oath years later, Boughton makes the laughable claim that the media was inaccurate in their reporting OF HIS OWN WORDS...then this week, he gives the Fairfield Weekly a totally different account of Danbury's role in the Kennedy Park raid.
You can't make this stuff up folks! When will the media get serious and stop giving Boughton a free pass on the numerous misleading statements he made regarding the Danbury 11 case?