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State, local NAACP officials call for 2 separate New London investigations

By Julianne Hanckel and Sasha Goldstein

Publication: theday.com

Published January 20. 2012 6:02PM   Updated January 20. 2012 7:52PM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Alfred Mayo, center, with his wife, Loretta Rivera, left, and five-year-old daughter Gabriela Rivera listen to Scot Esdaile, right, president of Connecticut NAACP State Conference, as he talks about Mayo's case during the press conference held by the Connecticut NAACP State Conference and New London Branch of the NAACP, New Haven Firebird Society and Phoenix Society of Hartford held inside City Hall Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.

New London — The state and local chapter of the NAACP have called for federal intervention in two different cases of alleged discrimination in the New London fire and police departments.

“We want to make it public that we are upset how business is conducted with minorities in this city,” said Scot X. Esdaile, state NAACP president, during a Friday night rally at City Hall.

Esdaile and Donald Wilson, president of the New London NAACP chapter, called attention to what they said are two very serious situations: the alleged planting of drugs by a New London police officer and the firing of a black New London Fire Department recruit.

K-9 Officer Roger Newton, 27, was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 6 after Lance Goode, who is black, alleged that Newton, who is white, planted drugs at the scene of Goode's October 2010 arrest on drug charges. Goode gave a copy of the police video of the traffic stop and arrest to The Day on Jan. 5.

“There is blatant, undeniable evidence,” Esdaile said of the video. “We demand an officer not be put on leave. We want an officer who participated in illegal activity to be arrested.”

Esdaile also addressed the case of Alfred Mayo, who was hired last summer by the New London Fire Department only to be fired in December, two days before he was to graduate from the state fire academy. Esdaile said Friday that Mayo’s firing was just the latest slight against black recruits in a department that has not hired an African-American since 1978.

“He’s been chief since 1985 and this department he leads is now a direct reflection of his work,” Esdaile said of Fire Chief Ronald Samul, who is in his 27th year in the post. “He should take full responsibility for that.”

Both Mayo and Goode attended the press conference and had filed complaints with the state NAACP, Esdaile said.

In Goode’s case, Esdaile said, one police officer showed “blatant disregard for the public trust here in the city of New London.”

Esdaile said he has a meeting scheduled for next week with Assistant U.S. Attorney Ndidi Moses to discuss the allegations against Officer Newton.

“Police officers are supposed to protect and serve, not protect and plant drugs,” Esdaile said. “This thing is going to court in the future.”

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