The town of East Haven, Connecticut has become a safer place for immigrants thanks to the hard work of 2008 Graduate Scholar Tafari Lumumba.
While enrolled at Yale University Law School, Tafari investigated police brutality and racial profiling allegations in East Haven. Alongside other Yale Law students, he helped write a civil complaint that was filed against the town of East Haven by eight community members, and the results are finally being witnessed by the affected Latino community.
“East Haven Settles Suit on Civil Rights,” The New York Times
Nearly five years down the line, four officers have been convicted of civil rights violations, the police department is under federal monitoring and has agreed to settle by paying $450,000 to victims, and Connecticut has changed its racial profiling law. East Haven has also become the first Connecticut town to refuse to enforce federal detainment requests that deal with immigrants.
Tafari and other Yale Law students wrote the complaint alongside eight East Haven residents, including Father James Manship, priest of St. Rose of Lima church who was arrested while documenting alleged harassment cases.
“450k Settlement Buys Latinos Peace of Mind,” New Haven Independent
This case is not a one-off for Tafari, but in fact is just one example of the type of cases he handles on a regular basis. “Since graduating,” he says, “I have helped immigrants targeted by their governments for persecution obtain asylum and green cards in the U.S., I have started a mock trial program at a low-income high school to encourage minority students to pursue careers in law, I successfully helped a mother convicted of a non-violent crime regain the right to see her children, I am currently representing an indigent blind woman who was improperly denied disability benefits, and I am persistently making connections and building relationships in Colorado to accomplish my ultimate goal of improving the delivery of legal services to people in my community.”