Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that former East Haven Police Sergeant John Miller, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to four months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for violating an individual’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the course of an arrest. Miller was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.
This matter stems from a criminal investigation into members of the East Haven Police Department using excessive force during arrests, conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures, and filing false police reports. As a result of the investigation, Miller and Officers Dennis Spaulding, Jason Zullo, and David Cari were convicted of various civil rights offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on January 3, 2010, in the course of making an arrest, Miller struck a handcuffed individual while the victim was in the secure custody of two other East Haven Police officers.
On September 21, 2012, Miller pleaded guilty to one count of depriving an individual of his right to be free from the use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer.
Judge Thompson credited Miller for his cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this matter and imposed a sentence below the recommended sentencing guidelines range of 12 to 18 months of imprisonment.
Miller, who has retired from the East Haven Police Department, was ordered to report to prison on March 13.
On October 23, 2012, Jason Zullo pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction stemming from his filing of a false police report in order to prevent a possible excessive force investigation. On December 16, 2013, he was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment.
On October 21, 2013, David Cari was found guilty of one count of conspiracy against rights, one count of deprivation of rights for making an arrest without probable cause, and one count of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing a false report. On January 21, 2014, he was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.
On October 21, 2013, Dennis Spaulding was found guilty of one count of conspiracy against rights, one count of use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, two counts of deprivation of rights for making arrests without probable cause, and two counts of obstruction of a federal investigation for preparing false reports to justify the false arrests. On January 23, he was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment.
This matter was investigated by the Civil Rights Squad of the FBI’s New York Field Office, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna R. Patel and Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.
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