Kolodziej was placed on administrative leave from the Town of St. John Police Department in December 2015 with pay pending an outcome of an internal investigation regarding a complaint. Allegations have surfaced that Officer Kolodziej “was conducting a Mexican hunt” and targeted immigrants.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
April 9, 2016
Town of St. John, Indiana – On Friday, a group of clergy, members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Latino leaders from Indiana held a vigil and prayer at the Town of St. John Police Department to denounce racial profiling of Latinos by St John Police Officer Daniel Kolodziej who was placed on administrative leave last December after a complaint was filed. Latino leaders in the area are claiming that he engaged in a Mexican hunt and targeted Latino immigrants. According to a news release, Julie Contreras from the LULAC Immigration Affairs Committee says that LULAC had received numerous complaints regarding practices by the St. John Police Department against Latinos and other minorities. One complaint specifically alleged that St. John Police Officer Kolodziej has been racially profiling Latinos by conducting in his words a “Mexican Hunt”. LULAC and Indiana Latino leaders believe that these statements reflect a discriminatory practice by the St. John law enforcement agency that target Latinos.
In an effort to highlight the racism against the Latino community, LULAC, Clergy and Indiana Latino Leaders held a vigil on Friday to stop the Hate and Racism in the Town of St. John. Contreras confirmed that LULAC has filed an open records request to get access of documented records, police dispatch logs, statistics and correspondence between officers for the last five years to assess statistics of Latinos that were stopped for traffic violations by Officer Kolodziej and other officers.
Contreras received actual documentation from a source of a log message between a dispatcher and Officer Kolodziej telling the dispatcher that he was on a Mexican hunt indicating Officer Kolodziej was targeting Latinos travelling through St. John’s jurisdiction.
The St. John’s Police Department is known for engaging in Latino and Afro-American racial-profiling for years, according to local residents.
Update: Attoney Christopher Cooper who is representing Officer Kolodziej contacted Hispanic News Network U.S.A. and confirmed that Officer Kolodziej was placed on administrative leave and was not suspended as previously reported. Cooper also stated in an e-mail that a document copy of a message log between Officer Kolodziej and a dispatcher does not come from a reliable source, but that Contreras has filed an open records request with the St. John Police Department to release certain documents.
Attorney Cooper did not specify why Officer Kolodziej was placed on administrative leave or if he has denied the allegations that he enaged in a Mexican hunt as Contreras and Latino leaders in the St. John area have claimed.