Derby (WTNH) -- An Ansonia police officer accused of stealing a garden hose from his own department faced a judge today. And the feds are now looking into the case against Officer Mustafa Salahuddin.
Officer Salahuddin was arrested for allegedly stealing a garden hose from the police station, but he and his supporters say the arrest was really the result of 10 years of ill will and racism.
A lot of people in town can't believe it came to this, and there was a march, organized by the NAACP, on City Hall yesterday afternoon. At the end of yesterday's march we heard from the mayor and the marchers that the US Department of Justice will investigate the arrest.
Officer Salahuddin first clashed with the Ansonia Police brass a decade ago over its ban on facial hair. He took that complaint to state authorities and won, because his Muslim faith requires him to have a beard.
He says the department has been taking its revenge ever since with a series of petty complaints against him, the latest being that he stole a $25 garden hose from the police station.
The police chief says Salahuddin was caught on surveillance tape taking the hose. Salahuddin's lawyer says the officer was taking it to wash his police cruiser.
The Mayor and the Police Chief both say the arrest over the hose has nothing to do with the past or the race of the officer accused.
Either way, the officer is charged with 6th degree larceny and was arraigned this morning in Derby Superior Court.