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Would You Ever Ticket Your Police Commissioner?

Would You Ever Ticket Your Police Commissioner?

New Haven Register via YellowBrix

April 21, 2011

EAST HAVEN — Officer Dennis Spaulding has a knack for turning up in the middle of things — this time ticketing a police commissioner Tuesday moments after the commissioner left the police station.

Police board member Joseph Civitello confirmed Tuesday night that Spaulding issued him an infraction for driving without a front marker plate.

“He gave me a ticket,” Civitello said of Spaulding.

“Evidently, over the winter my front marker plate became dislodged and was missing,” said Civitello.

Civitello said he was leaving the police station on North High Street Tuesday afternoon — driving behind acting Chief of Police Gaetano “Guy” Nappi, and with two police cruisers behind Civitello. Nappi turned right; Civitello and at least one of the cruisers turned left.

When Civitello got over the bridge that carries High Street over Interstate 95, the cruiser behind him flashed its lights and pulled him over.

Neither Nappi nor Deputy Chief John Mannion could be reached for comment.

Civitello, asked whether he thought the police officer was just doing his job, said, “I’m not going to talk about it. It’s just what it is. It’s whatever people want to read into it.”

The ticket is an infraction and Civitello must either pay it by April 29 or take it to court. He said he didn’t have the ticket handy, and wasn’t sure how much the fine might be. The state statute governing infractions lists the fine for failure to display a marker plate at $117.

Spaulding was one of the two police officers involved in the controversial incident on Feb. 19, 2009, in which the Rev.

James Manship, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, was arrested after he videotaped police at My Country Store, a Latino-owned market on Main Street. The incident sparked a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

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