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Priest Videos Shown To Jurors In East Haven Police Harassment Case

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File image of Father James Manship. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

File image of Father James Manship. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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Federal prosecutors today showed jurors a video recording that brought wider attention to complaints of police harassment of Latinos in East Haven.

East Haven Police officers David Cari and Dennis Spaulding are on trial, accused of harassing Latinos.

In testimony, Father James Manship described recording a video, as the officers ordered the Hispanic owners of a market to remove license plates that were displayed on a wall of their store.

Prosecutors had the bespectacled Manship stand up, and show jurors how he took his video camera out of his pocket, and held it visible at about chin level, with his arms bent.

In a report filed after they arrested the priest, one of the officers claimed that he felt threatened, and did not know what Manship had in his hand.

But in the video, the officer can be heard asking the priest why he has a camera trained on him.

When a federal prosecutor asked the priest why he continued to talk to the media and federal officials about the issue after the charges were dropped, Manship said he continued to speak out because people were hurting, and they were turning to him for help.

He said he is often the first and the last stop for these people, and he said his faith teaches him that church is not just about four walls on Sunday.

Manship earlier videotaped a police traffic stop, then spoke with the driver, who the priest said was Latino. On the ticket he said, the driver’s ethnicity was listed as White.

Manship said when he asked the officer about it, the officer told him that Hispanic is not a race.

Lawyers for Cari and Spaulding have argued that their clients were simply doing their jobs, enforcing the law with traffic stops and patrols.  They have tried to make it look like some of the people accusing the police are doing so to get a type of visa intended for crime victims.

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