Connecticut Cop Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison After Arresting Priest for Recording

A New Haven cop who claimed he was in fear for his life when he arrested a priest for video recording him as he bullied an Ecuadorian immigrant in a convenience store was sentenced to 30 months in prison Tuesday, indicating that justice prevails every once in a while.

Even if the cop was allowed to retire with a full pension.

The 2009 incident, which went viral, opened a federal investigation against David Cari and several other officers, revealing that they were engaging in an ongoing harassment campaign against the immigrants living in that community.

But it was only because Father James Manship filed a federal complaint after his charges were dropped two weeks after his arrest.

And it was only because it was all caught on video.

According to a 2009 New York Times article:

Latino merchants in this New Haven suburb have been complaining for months that they get a disproportionately large share of attention from the local police. Officers, they say, have harassed them and their customers by lingering outside shops, stopping cars and demanding to see driver’s licenses.

But their complaints were largely confined to grumbling among themselves and at a local church until Feb. 19, when a white American priest was arrested.

The priest, the Rev. James Manship, who was videotaping a police visit to an Ecuadorean-owned grocery store on Main Street when he was led off in handcuffs, has become an unlikely symbol of racial profiling, charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with the police.

On Thursday, more than a dozen East Haven residents joined the priest at a news conference in New Haven to release the brief tape he made of the encounter.

Father Manship, who had been advising the merchants, was in My Country Store taping two police officers as they confiscated the owner’s collection of license plates. In the arrest report, Officer David Cari said he grew concerned when the priest approached the officers and failed to identify an object cupped in his hands. Officer Cari wrote in the report that he felt “unsafe.”

But in the 14-second video, which can be seen on the Web site, the officer can be heard asking the priest: “Sir what are you doing? Is there a reason that you have a camera on me?” Father Manship replies, “I’m taking a video of what’s going on here.”

The federal investigation led to the arrest and conviction of four officers.

The sentencing for Cari’s fellow convicted ex-cop, Dennis Spaulding, was postponed until Thursday due to snow.

The other two former cops — John Miller and Jason Zullo — reached an agreement with federal prosecutors in which they pled guilty to crimes unrelated to racial profiling, according to The New Haven Register. Zullo received a jail sentence of two years, while Miller faces sentencing in February.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Rabbit
  • Jay


  • JayBone

    I’m getting a 404 on the link. I believe the extension should be .html instead of .htm.

    • Sam Mdws

      Both htm and html are valid extension formats for the same file.

      • JayBone

        Yet click on the first link, get a 404. Then append the “l” and the link works.

        • Sam Mdws

          Oh, you were right! I guess you have to use the extension of the file that is on the server, but htm and html are the same file format extensions. This would not have happened if HuffPost made the file the index of that folder.

  • Anon

    This was a really important incident. It revealed the racist filth plaguing that police department. Keep on recording people. Who knows when you’ll catch something important.

    • lberns

      Racist filth doesn’t just plague that department.

    • someone

      I have an illegal stalking injunction against me for filming a cop and his family that were coming to my home to stalk and harass me. I was in my yard they were on the public street in front of my home.

      • Anon

        So fight it. Get a lawyer and get the injunction removed. Get a restraining order yourself against the cop and his family so that they cannot come near your home.

        • someone

          Lawyer told me it would cost 50k Judge is his friend. They come by everyday yet they live 50feet from the main road. They go out of their way 1/3 mile to come past my home, some days multiple times. I have to tape myself outside for my protection because his Mormon friends are coming calling cops saying I am flashing them, telling them my music loud. Small town of inbreeds…..

          • someone

            I’m wondering how to submit a federal complaint

          • Anon

            Why does it bother you that they are on public land next to your home? Simply install a security system that tapes yourself and the surrounding street at all times. If they ever accuse you of something false, you’ll have video of yourself and them. It’ll only cost ~$200.

          • KristaRichardson

            When you start telling people about the crazy shit these assholes do to you, they’ll look at you like you’re the crazy one. It happened to me. It’s like no one will believe that anyone would pick and pick and pick at a person until they’re about ready to snap. And they say ignore it, and they say so what, it’s no big deal. But I know what it’s like, and I’m lucky I’m not in prison for homicide for real. So, like I said before, just move. The only other option I can think of is to get a really good civil rights attorney… NOW. Worst thing to do, air your dirty laundry. Trust me, keep it under wraps. Don’t take it public. Let them be the crazy ones. And KEEP FILMING. If you don’t have cameras up by now, you best put some up!!

        • John Connor

          and install some IP cams around your house.

      • KristaRichardson

        Just move. Plain and simple. I had to move over a crazy neighbor. Simply say, fuck this, and just move. Trust me, it’s best. They can stay in the shit hole and harass someone else, and they will. And you’ll be moving on with your life. Happiness is the BEST revenge on miserable assholes. Guess what when I moved, she started harassing her other neighbors. Eventually, they hang themselves, but if you stay you’ll get strung up on the noose with them.

  • Oswaldo Le’mon

    It says somewhere the cops were confiscating the license plates on the wall, why was he doing that? Lots of bars and restaurants put old plates up on the wall.

    • Tijuana Joe

      Yeah, someone needs to explain this….
      How bored are these police officers that licenses (and cameras) become their main concern. What was the offense?
      And the “feared for my life” thing is cliche to the point of comedy.

      • Bob_Striffler

        But it’s true! Cowards are afraid of everything.

  • Ron

    If you have nothing to hide …. oh right. Clearly he had plenty to hide.

    • Ron

      The hang dog look of the 2nd cop says it all as well. “Oh crap, we are busted guys”

  • Tonto

    Good to see this loser go to jail like he deserves!

    • Rob

      He also deserves to have his pension revoked.

  • FtP


  • Paschn

    A while back there was a very indignant commenter quite upset about this site and others like it were doing no good. This is a PERFECT example of the good happening because of this iste and others like it. Were it not for them, do you think the padre would have had a camera handy? ready to use it? I think not. thanks gents. perhaps sites like these will result in the comatose citizenry waking up regarding other vital but all too ignored areas of a government rotting away…..from within.

  • Peaceful Streets

    How can we get that prosecutor to move to Texas?

  • Rusty Gunn

    He should be run out of law enforcement altogether but I bet he’ll land another LEO job within weeks of being released early.

    • n4zhg

      Not with multiple felonies on his record, he won’t. He’d have to petition the President for clemency and even Obama isn’t suicidal. This thug will be lucky to get a job as WalMart greeter to supplement his pension — I don’t think McDonald’s will hire a felon.

  • Rusty Gunn

    I wonder if that priest used the same camera to record himself prong’n some alter boy in the butt.

    • MSMediacritic

      Rusty, is that really necessary? You not only exhibit poor spelling (it’s altar, not alter), you are defaming someone you have probably never met and about whom you know next to nothing. It’s wrong and you owe both the priest and everyone here an apology.

      • lootappi

        that’s OFFICER rusty to you…

    • rust

      Just in case, this is not me.

  • n4zhg

    With any luck he’ll get a knife in the back from a fellow prisoner and we won’t have to deal with him again.

    • ProudGrandPa

      n4zhg writes a fruitcake hate commentary that PINAC should disown.

      • Film The Police Always

        WHY? I hope a knife finds his back also.

  • JW

    “An East Haven cop who claimed he was in fear for his life…”

    Maybe police forces should stop hiring such massive pussies.

    • Difdi

      Many criminals are justifiably fearful that if evidence of their crimes was publicly known, they’d lose their comfortable lifestyle and wind up in prison.

    • John Connor

      100 thumb up for that one 😛

  • Guest

    Connecticut resident here; just wanted to say that since this happened in 2009, Connecticut became the first (and I believe so far only) state to pass a law that allows a person who is interfered with while filming to sue the police officer personally. (The distinction is that at least according to federal law, lawsuits against police are defended by the city that employs them and usually paid by the city or their insurance company. The CT law means that if you win a lawsuit against an officer for interfering with your filming they will pay for it out of their own pocket).

    So if your in Connecticut go ahead and film police without hesitation because if they interfere with you it can be very costly on their pockets.

    • Bob_Striffler

      This is just the Court’s way of not providing any real punishment or real award as punishment/detriment. The police officer with the help of his Union Lawyers will just file bankruptcy. You won’t be able to collect a thing from an officer. Florida Law under the most recent prevailing federal law which really should apply in Connecticut too, Municipal/police agency immunity is trumped when it can be shown there was a failure to train supervise and discipline the officers. This won’t see the light of day in court because everybody knows the courts themselves rubberstamp this abuse thus being the cause. You’ll go thru a whole bunch of legalese crap on showing that! It’s why Federal Civil Rights laws, 1983 laws and RICO laws have all been ignored and manipulated. The courts continue to isolate ANYTHING that holds any officers of the court or agents of government acting under color of law accountable for anything! So be very happy he’s in prison, hopefully with a cellmate named Bubba! Him being convicted is an anomaly in this lost process of the freedom America always had before! If you really want to understand this position go here

      • Anon

        Everything you write is pseudolegal nonsense. You simply string together unrelated topics to make your point appear as though it has substance. Anyone familiar with the subject quickly realizes that you are no expert but just a loon. You do this website and the actual victims of police abuse a disservice by posting your nonsense.

        • Bob_Striffler

          As usual Anonsense I knew you’d be here to attack! And as usual, you little prick, you also attack the sources! This one happens to be Syracuse University Law School this time! They teach and do studies of Law and you attack it! You do because of your self-belief of your far superior wisdom or you just have a big mouth! You don’t even need to cite law to back your position, you just spew rhetoric. It’s usually the Laws or prevailing case law I cite that you say is all wrong. Yes now according to you, if a cop asks for id, give it to them or your breaking the law. If a cop’s taking your film, it’s ok because it’s evidence and you have to give it to them or be arrested. An infraction, is a crime and provides reasonable suspicion. When I wrote of how Un-Constitutionally Vague laws are being used, again, you attacked it? When I pointed out entrapment and supporting case law, you attacked it! Your positions unsupported were the exact opposite and you verbally assaulted me when I provided the law that said otherwise. All this you attacked me for because I posted the truth backed up by the prevailing laws. Have fun with whatever you think you’re doing! I know that what you’re doing is trying to get followers of this site to except your police troll shit! What cop trolls do is promote the status quo as truth, so things will not change with the police and their unaccountability! With your false law you spew, the police will not be identified by the laws I post for what they are doing! You sir are a coward! You and your two buddies seem to excel/thrive on this website. Keep up the good work misleading everyone, cop troll!

          • Anon

            You apparently can’t read.

          • Bob_Striffler

            You are absolutely the smallest sissy I’ve ever come across!

          • Anon

            Is that an insult? I would think being the largest sissy would be worse.

          • Kerfuffulator

            He’s a troll. He has no interest in being reasonable or coherent

          • Anon

            I know, but it’s fun to destroy the paragraphs of nonsense he writes with a few small sentences.

          • joe

            Get a life, you nerds.

  • dave

    can someone post this to some cop blog sites, it might possibly deter some of them from doing shaking down photographers?

    • n4zhg

      PoliceOne is strangely silent on this one.

  • n4zhg
  • Haeshu

    I don’t understand why we don’t have nationwide rules for citizens videotaping cops. It seems like common sense that public servants should be able to be videotaped in order to keep police from abusing their power. If they aren’t doing anything wrong, they have nothing to be afraid of. Right?

    • Anon

      The same reason we don’t have rules for filming your family vacation. You have first amendment rights that already cover it. A law wouldn’t give you any more rights.

      • Haeshu

        Wish the cops thought like this,.

    • Difdi

      We do. But states keep passing laws that violate the constitution, and therefore we have to keep fighting the same battle over and over and over.

    • ProudGrandPa

      Actually there is a national standard for photoging police: the first amendment. Efforts to censor us are just a footnote. Photography of LEOs is our right. The courts have confirmed it.

  • Ian Battles

    As a CT resident, I’m elated.

    Good to see these corrupt bastards being held accountable right here in my home state!

  • Alma Lovell

    Its great to finally see some justice where cops actually go to jail. However, Carlos you should edit your article to correctly state that the “immigrant” was in fact and illegal immigrant. Unless of course you don’t draw any distinction because you are a supporter of illegal immigration.

    • IcedTeaParty

      I am likely far to the other side of the fence of Carlos on the immigration issue, but the context of the immigrant being illegal is 100% entirely irrelevant. This cop could’ve been merely admiring himself in the mirror or buying girl-scout cookies when this happened and the only thing that matters is a man was arrested for doing nothing more than exercising his 1st Amendment right.

      • Alma Lovell

        I agree. That’s why there should be no reason to not identify properly and state the FACT that it was an illegal alien and not an “immigrant”.

        • Reddit_Guy

          1. a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

          Sure looks like the correct use of the word ‘immigrant’ to me.

          • inquisitor

            illegal immigrant

            n. an alien (non-citizen) who
            has entered the United States without government permission or stayed
            beyond the termination date of a visa.

            Sure looks like a more correct term to me.

          • Voice-Of-Concern

            Meh. The story is about the cop, not about his victim’s status. Nothing to see here.

          • Reddit_Guy

            Glad to see that you agree that either word / phrase is an accurate way to describe the victim.

        • IcedTeaParty


          That means it doesn’t matter how the other character was described. In fact, it would be just as accurate if they said “person.”

      • inquisitor

        Does an illegal alien non-citizen have a 1st amendment right?

        • Difdi

          Yes. The 1st amendment protects unalienable human rights by absolutely prohibiting the government from ever infringing upon those rights.

          You don’t have protected rights in the US by being a citizen, you have them by being human.

        • IcedTeaParty

          Again, irrelevant; this is about the arrest of the priest. Was the priest an illegal?

          • inquisitor

            That does not answer the question.

          • IcedTeaParty

            Your entirely irrelevant question was answered, so quit being a douchebag and answer my question.

        • ProudGrandPa

          Yes, an illegal immigrant has a first amendment right to photo cops as he is being arrested. He has the same rights as citizens as he is imprisoned, tried for his crimes, and later deported. That’s justice for all!

        • Ken Scaletta


          The Priest was an American white guy, though, so it’s irrelevant.

    • Difdi

      Given that constitutional protection of rights works by limiting government rather than granting anyone any rights whatsoever, the immigration status of someone whose rights are violated is utterly irrelevant.

  • Phred

    It’s a great day when a cop goes to jail! Enjoy your stay, Mr. Cari!

  • OhSnapDJB

    I can’t believe that this asshole cop still gets to live off of our tax money. UN FUCKING BELIEVEABLE

    • Frodo

      They’re sending him to jail so they have to make it up to him somehow.

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    2009. Justice may be blind but who knew it was driving slowly in the left lane with a blinker on.

  • Chris Tharp


  • Bob_Striffler

    The truth about this case here and I’m not saying anything racist, is the courts and justice department only really identify civil rights (Title 18 s 241,242) in discrimination cases. (fact) If you or the person in the store were a Born American Citizen this cop would have never even been looked at twice by the feds, the courts or the media! The Constitution has been made, by the Judicial System, to be more foreigner friendly…..I guess so they can write home to all their friends overseas and brag about America’s Freedoms as applied to them only! This makes America shine on the worlds stage while American citizens here continually face different Justice which the media stays silent about! Isolated and selective rights apply especially where the poor/unrepresented are concerned. They are taken advantage of, openly acknowledged in this article every day by the Judiciary. (America Strong) Beside this case is just one of a million just like it that happen every day and ignored and everybody here knows it.

    I blame everything that happened in that store on Failure to Train, Supervise and Discipline the officers! Which of course trumps Municipal Immunity in a 1983 claim. (a check and balance) I also blame it on the Rubber Stamp process of the lower courts. In the New Haven Website article it explained that, ” it took attorneys less then a month for a Superior Court Judge to dismiss the (false arrest) charges” against the priest.

    In the lower courts, like in Brevard County and Jeff Greys arrest, the exact same behavior as described above is “Rubber Stamped” and supported openly in the news (Florida Today) by the prosecutor as following a different set of American Law, a non-existent set of laws continually backed up by Anon as well as some others here (Why?) and not real prevailing law! I’d be happy to provide the case law on Municiple Immunity being trumped by Failure to Train, Supervise and Discipline Officers and Civil Suits for such!

    Once again

    I’m waiting Anon-e-mouse?

  • Manny

    Excellent work thanks PINAC for everything they do, this era of police harassment and abuse must end.

  • Dan-O

    It is stated in the article that the officer had PTSD . I have read
    some articles that the government does not allow some veterans with PTSD to own
    guns. So my question is should someone with PTSD have arrest powers and carry a
    gun when they may have a break from reality. And how many more are out there? Pretty freakin scary

    • Bob_Striffler

      Dan-O in my county where Jeff Grey was arrested filming the police, a Judge got busted totally and falsely throwing twelve people in jail for something the bailiff told them to do. This judge knew this and jailed them anyway. He claimed A.D.D. when caught…..this time. He was on the bench a long time. All of the cases he presided over should have been gone over with a fine tooth comb, but weren’t. The same thing should happen with this cops cases but won’t!
      I have “Affuenza” and “Helsinki “syndrome” and want to rob a bank ! Of course I’d be doing it in “good faith” and for “exigent circumstances!” Excuses are like ___holes but in the court system only officers of the court have them! And in far too many cases these bullshoot excuses prevail!

  • Marianne Neal

    Another good reason to film. I suspect those officers were instructed to give certain merchants a hard time.
    But the higher ups always cover their tracks.

  • ProudGrandPa

    Great! The system works. Thanks for posting this welcome news. The federal gov’t enforced the right to photograph LEOs at work and four bad cops were removed.

    • Bob_Striffler

      Really thanx for sharing that

  • Bob_Striffler

    2 second blubs very intellectual and very stimulating! You know! Free speech and all huh! You’re right though! It’s why these things make headway!

  • Bob_Striffler

    I did promise though, I’d ask and challenge a person who “sits at bar” and graduated from “Journalism school,” didn’t I?

  • Bob_Striffler

    Hey, would it be cool if I directed people to this site that pro-se or not brought cases before and argued these cases I could cite verbatim, before the Supreme court of many states and the Supreme court of the United States? Would that be good enough for you Anon and others? Would you argue that with your 2 second brilliant blurbs also. Can I ask Andrew? I said I’d ask Andrew about some things? Didn’t I?

  • Bob_Striffler

    I’m on a mission and you got whatever you got! I’ve been seeking accountability thirty years! And got friends on the inside and outside to prove it!

  • Bob_Striffler

    I promised my friend who two cops killed his brother a long time ago! I’ll fulfill that promise! I promise! If you don’t like it join your game and it is a game! Some of us have been at it a long time bro! Talk is cheap, made in America!

  • someone

    How does one submit a Federal Complaint?

    • Bob_Striffler

      FBI, Justice Department or Federal Court.

  • Bob_Striffler

    In Florida the Judicial Institution has its own laws completely separate from the rest of the nation that nurture this exact illegal police behavior. Ask Jeff Grey. Then read the State Attorney’s comments as well as those made by Internal Affairs Sheriffs Officer Dodd in the Florida Today Newspaper regarding Jeff’s arrest! The Judiciary also nurtures far worse illegal behavior. The behavior that is illegal elsewhere is due process here! This is institutional! And the press down here in Florida is the vehicle used! If you don’t like it your voice and the truth are suppressed and silenced just like it’s said to happen in China and North Korea. Bad things are happening more and more to citizens who tell the truth at the hands of this Institutional corruption! From receiving threats to far worse. That’s America Strong!

  • Paul Kisling

    He liked violating other peoples rights. Lets see how he likes being violated. Repeatedly.
    Something tells me unless he spends 30 months in solitary he is going to need that pension for some surgery..

  • michael92064

    The ole ” feared for my life” ruse failed this time

  • Jay F

    Happens to us cop is cleared of any charges. Must be nice to be high profile.

  • Paschn

    Rotten from the Whitehouse all the way down to the cop locker room. Where the hell can the “cleanup” to begin?
    Let’s hear some excuses from all you Reagan fans;

  • sonny free

    today on 5/19/014 we are asking all people all over the world to say a
    silent prayer for all victims of the most sadistic and cruel abuse by
    tennessee police committed on to the poor and minorities . We are asking
    that you take a few seconds to remember these victims of police abuse
    that are being beaten on a daily basic all across tennessee.thank you