The New London Police Union is asking that Police Chief Margaret Ackley be investigated for a possible violation of civil rights and placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
In a letter to Mayor Daryl Finizio, union president Todd Lynch also accused Ackley of potentially violating an executive order signed by the mayor forbidding police from questioning a person about their immigration status unless it pertains to a criminal investigation.
Lynch says in the letter, delivered this afternoon, that the allegations are based on a civil suit currently before the . According to , jury selection was recently halted in a wrongful death lawsuit related to the 2003 murder of David Romero, brought against the city by Romero’s sister, Marta Paguada, and former girlfriend, Ayfer Kaya. The plaintiffs charge that police failed to adequately respond to a domestic violence incidents involving the shooter, Kurtulus Kalican. City attorneys filed a motion seeking to introduce evidence that Romero was an undocumented immigrant, and Paguada’s attorney in turn filed a federal lawsuit charging Ackley with improperly obtaining the information from immigration authorities on Jan. 26.
Jury selection resumed on Friday although the judge has not ruled on the city’s motion, The Day reported today.
In the letter to Finizio, Lynch says that “serious allegations of conspiracy to violate civil rights have been lodged against the chief of police.” He also says that a “peripheral matter that is disturbing to the members of the police department” is the possibility that Ackley may have violated an .
This says that in order to “foster a feeling of safety, and promote cooperation between its citizens, residents and guests with the ,” police should not inquire about a resident’s immigration status unless it directly pertains to a criminal investigation. It also declares that officers “shall not independently undertake to approach, interview, interrogate, detain or arrest any suspected illegal alien or refugee when a potential violation of the federal immigration law is not the principal issue.”
“Based on the initial reports, and certainly from the suit filed against the chief and the city, allegations that she inquired about a person’s immigration status and it was not related to a criminal investigation requires an immediate investigation,” Lynch writes.
Lynch says the union is also suggesting that Ackley be placed on administrative leave until an investigation by an outside agency is completed. He says violations of law, ordinances, or department regulations are usually handled in the police department’s chain of command. Lynch said Ackley would normally receive such a report “but given the chief may be the actual violator the matter needs to be directly brought to your [Finizio’s] office.”
Zak Leavy, Finizio’s executive assistant, said, “The matter is under review by the mayor’s office.”