The public deserve to know the truth about the Danbury11 case
Saturday, July 10, 2010 Time: 10:36 AM
-in light of today's News-Times article that doesn't give a FULL account of the mayor's deposition, this post is bumped to the top.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a dark and nasty undercurrent in the campaigns of some prominent Republican Party candidates for major office in Connecticut this year. And if primary voters don’t recognize it and reject it Aug. 10, it could doom the GOP’s chances in the general election.
Let’s stipulate first that, while not toeing one party line over another, this newspaper endorsed John McCain over Barack Obama two years ago. We agree with the broad traditional themes of Republican candidates such as McCain that bigger government and higher taxes won’t ultimately fix our economy or improve society.
What we cannot stomach, however, is mixing that message with campaign rhetoric that appeals to hateful backlash against the immigrant population in our state.
Lets just say that when it comes to the subject of immigration, the Register-Citizen didn't have anything nice to say about ol' Mayor Mark.
Also on the Aug. 10 Republican primary ballot in Connecticut will be Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is running for lieutenant governor as a runningmate to gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. Boughton has been praised for his down-to-earth grasp of the issues facing the state and articulate vision for solving them. He hasn’t been scrutinized — but surely will be come the general election — for pursuing a similarly racist targeting of the immigrant population of his city.
And Boughton’s stripes haven’t changed since the controversies and lawsuits those policies generated a few years back. Of all the issues facing his city and state, he chose recently to have police crack down on “excessive honking” and “flag waving” when Brazil was playing in the World Cup. Didn’t see that crackdown for the Red Sox World Series, did we?
From his flip-flop on what constitutes impromptu celebrations, and his misleading statements regarding the city's role in the Danbury 11 case, to the tactics used by City Hall against organizations that opposed his anti-immigrant policies (attacks on former Hispanic Center chairwoman Maria Cinta-Lowe, de-funding of the Hispanic Center, threats made against Association of Religious Communities (ARC) over their objection to ICE ACCESS, lies about ethnic newspapers misreporting on ICE ACCESS), the Register-Citizen is correct when it states that Boughton's record on immigration (and truthfulness) have yet to be scrutinized (Lord knows you can't find it on his campaign website).
Once the statewide media look beyond the mayor's rhetoric and talking points and start examining the last honest man's REAL record on immigration, the REAL Mark Boughton will be exposed...and the general public won't like what they see.
Politicians have a fickle relationship with the truth, and during an election year, it’s their own records and biographies that get edited. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal at least allowed for some confusion about his military service, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz tried to fudge her history of “active practice” and Sen. Joe Lieberman spent 2006 vowing to fight for everything he is usually trying to derail. Recently, a trio of Connecticut Republicans has delivered some gems that make “I never said I was a maverick” seem like a mild embellishment on a Match.com profile.
Guess which Republican candidate's history of lying to the public received the most attention?
Finally, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who wants to be your lieutenant governor, seems to melt into truthiness whenever the fragile issue of the city’s surge in immigrants from Latin America comes up. He said the city was not involved in the arrest of the day-laborers who’d come to be known as the “Danbury 11” in 2006. We later found out a Danbury police officer drove the van of ICE agents that tricked them into thinking they were going to a job. Last month, Boughton said he was too busy campaigning to testify in the lawsuit of the 11, but when The New York Times tried to contact him about it, he was at a golf tournament.
The Danbury News-Times recently asked Boughton if the street celebrations following World Cup games fall under the city’s parade ordinance. He said no, “These are spontaneous celebrations and there is nobody really organizing them.” HatCityBLOG has kept up with the mayor for the last five years and noted that, in 2007, he said of the World Cup fiestas, “[T]hose are not impromptu parades.”
It may seem like a small detail about proper paperwork, but a) it shows a marked difference between the local official under pressure to do something about those immigrants and their unfamiliar ways and the state-level campaigner probably trying to soften his image, and b) those statements are as contradicting as “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and “I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate.”
The Weekly's conclusion about Danbury's last honest man basically sums things up.
A person running for higher office should be comfortable with his or her past. It shows maturity and perspective. Plus, the realization you’ve done some stupid stuff is an indication you’ll recognize and avoid that kind of thing in the future. But for politicians, ego gets in the way of maturity and ideology in the way of perspective. And anyone seeking elected office is clearly not done doing stupid stuff, so we are left with a sea of distortions, omissions and inconsistencies every two years.
Calling the last honest man in Danbury a serial liar is an understatement...hopefully more media outlets will take the time to document Boughton's trail of misleading statements and dishonesty.
04.25.22 (RADIO): WSHU Latino group call on Connecticut lawmakers to open a Danbury charter school
06.03.22 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Career Academy ‘a great deal for Danbury"
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.