The backlash against East Haven, Conn., Mayor Joseph Maturo, who said “I might have tacos” in response to a question about what he would do for the Latino community, has been swift.
Activists spearheaded a drive that delivered a huge number of tacos to the mayor’s office. (MSNBC puts the count at 2,000.) Many people criticized the comment, as did Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. The East Haven mayor’s office subsequently issued a statement that apologized for the comment:
“My sincerest apologies go out to the East Haven community and, in particular, the Latino community for the insensitive and off-color comment that I made to WPIX reporter Mario Diaz yesterday regarding the recent events affecting our community and our police department. Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation. I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example.”
The remarks by Mayor Joseph Maturo to WPIX-TV reporter Mario Diaz (seen in uncut footage here) were made in response to arrests of members of the East Haven police department who allegedly harassed members of the Latino community. The four officers, reportedly known as “Miller’s boys,” were arrested by the FBI on Jan. 24. And their indictment, the New York Times reported, alleged that they engaged in “years of mistreatment of individuals, especially Hispanics, and efforts to cover it up.”
In a TV report about the incident, Diaz asked the mayor what he was going to do for the Latino community. Maturo answered, “I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet.”
Shortly after the news broke, the group Reform Immigration for America initiated a campaign that asked citizens to text TACO to a number in order to send tacos to the mayor’s office in protest. The movement caught on. According to the group’s blog, it had received more than 4,500 texts to deliver a taco to the mayor’s office.
After a delivery, the mayor’s office issued another release, explaining what it was going to do with all the tacos. “Recognizing that there are many in need in our State, we have arranged for all of the tacos to be donated to local soup kitchens and pantries including the ‘Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen’ in New Haven,” it read, according to the Hartford Courant.