HARTFORD — Connecticut researchers today released the state’s third statewide study about how police conduct traffic stops. The following is a reaction from David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut:
“Police should be making traffic stop decisions based on safety, not the color of a driver’s skin or the zip code where their car is registered. Yet the evidence clearly shows that fair policing isn’t happening in all towns in our state. This latest report, like others before it, shows that some police in Connecticut are disproportionately stopping Black and Latino drivers and unjustly targeting neighborhoods where people of color live and drive. Three police departments have been among the worst of the worst for three years in a row, and it is unacceptable that this trend could continue unchecked.
Biased traffic enforcement undermines faith in our democracy. Connecticut must adopt independent oversight of police to end unjust police practices like biased traffic stops, and it must start enforcing its existing police accountability laws. Local governments and state legislators both need to step in and get to work at increasing police accountability and ending racial injustice.”
Today’s study is the first to compare year-by-year information regarding who police pull over. The comparative data shows that:
- Statewide, police disproportionately pull over people of color during the day, when a driver’s race or ethnicity is more visible.
- Statewide, police are more likely to find illegal items when searching white drivers’ cars.
- For three years in a row, Wethersfield, Stratford, and East Hartford have disproportionately pulled over people of color. Wethersfield had the worst racial profiling score out of all police agencies.
This year’s research also shows that in 2016:
- 11 towns and one state police troop disproportionately pulled over people of color: Berlin, Meriden, Monroe, Newtown, Norwich, Ridgefield, Wethersfield, East Hartford, Stratford, Darien, Trumbull, and the North Canaan-based Troop B.
- Of these 12 police agencies, 5 had also shown racial disparities in previous years: East Hartford (flagged every year), Meriden (flagged in years two and three), Stratford (flagged every year), Trumbull (flagged in years two and three), and Wethersfield (flagged every year).
- Researchers estimated that Bridgeport, Hartford, and Middletown neglected to provide thousands of traffic stop reports to the state.