Melanie Stengel  /  AP
In this 2006 file photo, police Chief Leonard Gallo talks with reporters at the East Haven, Conn., police station.
msnbc.com news services
updated 1/30/2012 12:08:55 PM ET 2012-01-30T17:08:55

The police chief in East Haven, Conn., is retiring amid a scandal in which four officers are accused of tyrannizing Latino residents.

Chief Leonard Gallo's attorney, Jon Einhorn, said the chief is stepping down because of the federal probe into the department, but that his client has neither participated in nor condoned racial profiling.

"He will be vindicated," Einhorn said during a press conference on Monday, adding, "He is not guilty in any wrong doing."

Einhorn said Gallo, 64, did not attend Monday's brief press event because "it was too emotionally upsetting for him."

Einhorn said Gallo, who has been chief of police for 14 years, has been thinking about retiring for a while.

"I think (Gallo's) feeling is he is doing the best thing for the town," Einhorn said.

Gallo had been suspended as chief in April 2010 after the FBI launched the criminal investigation, but he was reinstated to the post in November after his friend Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. took office.

The four officers have pleaded not guilty to charges including deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice.

More charges in the case could be filed today, according to NBCConnecticut.com.

Gallo's attorney told NBCConnecticut.com last week that the chief was identified in the indictment as co-conspirator number one and could face possible charges.

His attorney has denied the allegations.

Deputy Chief John Mannion will serve as interim chief and there will be a search committee to find a new chief.

More than 15,000 East Haven residents had signed an online petition asking that Gallo be replaced, according to NBCConnecticut.com.

Residents spoke out about the allegations against the city's police.

“I think it's pretty despicable, actually. I really do,” long-time East Haven resident Lindsay Kelsey told the NBC affiliate on Monday.

“If that is the case, you would like everyone brought to justice and no one should be above the law if in fact the law was broken," resident Peter Sanchez added.

The Associated Press and NBC News contributed to this report.

Video: Chief retiring after police abuse allegations

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