EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Only News 8 cameras were there when angry protesters stormed East Haven Town Hall and refused to leave on Wednesday. The crowd of more than three dozen demanded to see Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. about what they claim are poor conditions at the town’s swimming pool.
They were also upset over the firing of beloved swim instructor Jose Bedoya.
“You’re done, you don’t need to go back to the pool,” Bedoya says he was told by the mayor’s staff. “I don’t understand why.”
Bedoya said his dismissal after 18-years of service is because he is Hispanic, and because he blew the whistle on shoddy pool upkeep. “They no do repairs,” he said.
Then, Bedoya dropped a bombshell, claiming after a heated exchange at the pool in October, the mayor got physical.
“Did the mayor assault you?” News 8’s Mario Boone asked. “Yes,” he answered. “He pushed me with a shoulder and the arm.”
Police body cam footage of that scene captured the moments just after the alleged assault. Mayor Maturo Jr. can be heard telling a police officer, “…but the camera is out, I don’t want this on camera.” No charges were filed.
Back at town hall, when protesters were told the mayor was away, they confronted town administrator Sal Brancati.
“Why is Jose being fired?” one child asked.
When Brancati ran out of answers, he ordered News 8’s Mario Boone to shut off the cameras, saying, “Turn that off, Mario.” A request we ignored.
Mayor Maturo Jr. could not be reached for comment.