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Former employees, New London resident give impassioned testimony at NAACP meeting

By Sasha Goldstein

Publication: theday.com

Published February 21. 2012 6:14PM   Updated February 21. 2012 10:04PM

New London – Alfred Mayo tearfully recounted his firing from the city's fire department.

Lance Goode described the pain and suffering he experienced after an officer planted drugs and arrested him.

Joseph Anderson spoke about the lack of programs aimed at hiring local people in the city's fire department.

Those three were among the area residents, former employees and civil rights advocates from across the state that delivered impassioned testimony Tuesday night about their experiences with the city's police and fire departments at a town hall meeting in a packed room at the Second Congregational Church.

Much of the discussion at the NAACP-sponsored event, from the residents and the five panel members, centered around Goode and Mayo's experiences.

State NAACP president Scot X. Esdaile said former officer Roger Newton, whom Goode accused of planting drugs during an Oct. 2010 arrest, was a "traitor" to the police department and the community. Newton has since resigned, effective Feb. 10.

"He may have resigned but he should still be arrested," Esdaile said to thunderous applause.

State Rep. Ernest Hewett, who spoke about both Goode and Mayo's situation, said he was "very upset" about Mayo's firing, just days before his graduation from the state fire academy. Mayo was set to become the first black firefighter hired by the city since 1978.

"When (the instructors) told him by going first in class, you're showing too much enthusiasm, isn't that what you teach your children?" Hewett said. "They told him don't go first all the time, that's what they told him. That's disturbing."

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio attended, as did Police Chief Margaret Ackley. People young and old, from across the racial spectrum, showed up to hear what community members had to say.

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