Former East Haven Police Officer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Jan 24, 2014

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding with his wife.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding has been sentenced to five years in prison for violating the constitutional rights of members of the East Haven community, particularly Latinos.  

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said Spaulding, in her words, “arrested people for no good reason, used cruel and excessive force causing physical injuries, and executed illegal searches.”

Daly also said, “His actions assaulted, intimidated, demeaned and humiliated decent and hardworking people who came to fear their own police department.”

At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Spaulding told the judge that he is not a racist. He said tensions between East Haven police and Latinos were the result of an investigation into license plate fraud.

Spaulding is one of four officers who were arrested following a federal criminal investigation into the East Haven police department. Former officer David Cari was sentenced earlier this week to two and a half years in prison.

Jason Zullo has begun serving a two-year sentence in West Virginia. Former Sargeant John Miller will be sentenced in February.