Sunday, March 15, 2009
A Roman Catholic priest who monitors law enforcement treatment of minorities with a video camera released footage that appears to contradict the police account of his own arrest.
A police report says the Rev. James Manship was confronted and arrested Feb. 19 because he was holding an “unknown shiny silver object” and struggled with an officer who was trying to take it from him. But a 15-second video released this week by Manship’s attorneys shows East Haven police Officer David Cari asking Manship, “Is there a reason you have a camera on me?”
“I’m taking a video of what’s going on here,” Manship replies.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, what I’m going to do with that camera,” Cari says as he approaches the priest. The tape then goes blank.
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The arrest has reignited the debate about racial profiling and ethnic discrimination in East Haven, a working-class community of about 28,000 that borders New Haven. The shooting death of an unarmed black man by an East Haven officer in 1997 sparked harsh criticism by minority groups that has lingered. Manship and his parishioners say officers have been unfairly targeting Hispanics in recent months.