Rally At City Hall Focuses On Anti-Profiling Ordinance
By Jenna Carlesso
November 16, 2010
A week after City Councilman Luis Cotto reintroduced a proposal that would limit city police in their immigration enforcement and domestic surveillance activities, leaders of several community organizations converged at city hall to show their support for the ordinance.
"This ordinance will send a clear message ... that the police [are] not to be feared; that they will investigate only criminal behavior and not what people look like or the color of their skin," Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Connecticut, told a group of people on the steps of city hall Monday. The press conference and rally took place just before a public hearing on the ordinance.
Cotto has said the ordinance would maintain the police department's focus on its core public mission of serving and protecting city residents while limiting its participation in racial and religious profiling, federal immigration enforcement and undercover infiltration of activist and religious groups.
"This ordinance protects the people of Hartford not only by protecting their privacy and their civil rights, but [also] by allowing the Hartford police to become a model nationwide for a department more interested in protecting the safety of residents ... than in feeding information about law abiding residents to the federal government," said Sandra Staub, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut.
The proposal was initially raised in August but later withdrawn for procedural reasons. It was again raised at the city council's Nov. 8 meeting and referred to its quality of life and public safety committee for further discussion.