Connecticut troopers falsified data on traffic stops reported to racial profiling board, audit says

Jun 28, 2023, 3:13 PM

FILE - Members of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit on scene where two police officers ...

FILE - Members of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit on scene where two police officers were killed, Oct. 13, 2022, in Bristol, Conn. Hundreds of Connecticut state police troopers falsified information on at least 26,000 traffic stops from 2014 to 2021, skewing reports on the race and ethnicity of pulled-over motorists, according to an audit released Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hundreds of Connecticut state police troopers falsified information on at least 26,000 traffic stops from 2014 to 2021, skewing reports on the race and ethnicity of pulled-over motorists, according to an audit released Wednesday.

Data analysts with the University of Connecticut said the reports resulted in too many drivers being identified as white. They cautioned, however, that they did not try to determine whether the records were intentionally falsified or were wrong due to carelessness or human error.

Gov. Ned Lamont said he has referred the matter to the chief state’s attorney’s office for investigation, and urged the public to not jump to conclusions.

“There’s no indication that was purposeful,” he said at an unrelated news conference Wednesday. “A lot of it may have been inadvertent.”

The audit was spurred by a Hearst Connecticut Media report last year that said four state troopers in an eastern Connecticut barracks intentionally creating hundreds of bogus traffic stop tickets to boost their productivity numbers. After internal affairs investigations, one trooper was suspended for 10 days, another was suspended for two days and the other two retired before the probe was completed.

The audit found that the number of traffic infractions reported to the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project advisory board didn’t match those reported to the state court system, which handles all traffic citations, according to analysts with the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at the University of Connecticut.

The analysts “have a high level of confidence that at least 25,966 infraction records were falsified and submitted to the racial profiling systems,” the report said. The audit said the number of falsified infraction records could be as high as 58,553, if certain criteria were included. Analysts reviewed more than 800,000 infractions issues over the seven-year period.

“We are talking about … a pattern of having records where you cannot find a corresponding record in the court system,” said Ken Barone, one of the UConn analysts. “If you claimed you stopped a car and issued a ticket, there should be a ticket.”

Lamont and the analysts noted that the number of discrepancies between state police data and court system data has decreased in recent years. The report said the most discrepancies were in 2014.

The analysts said they audited traffic stop information submitted by about 1,300 troopers, and 311 of them had a “statistically significant number of discrepancies” during at least one year.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut called the audit’s findings troubling.

“This audit reveals a breathtaking disrespect for the state’s racial profiling prohibition law by Connecticut State Police employees and, even worse, for that law’s goal of reducing systemic racism in policing,” said Claudine Constant, the group’s public policy and advocacy director.

“Whether intentional or not, the impact of police falsifying and inaccurately reporting records is the same: police have obscured the true information about how often they stop drivers of color compared to white drivers,” she said in a statement.

State police said in a statement Wednesday that the agency has no tolerance for false reporting and it has been working with the UConn institute to prevent it.

“The State Police are deeply committed to ensuring the integrity of Connecticut’s racial profiling data and to maintaining public confidence in the essential public safety services our troopers provide each day,” the statement said.

Police statewide, including local departments, are mandated to submit traffic stop data to the state, under Connecticut’s 1999 law aimed at preventing racial profiling. The UConn institute analyzes the data and submits periodic reports, which have shown that officers disproportionately pulled over Black and Hispanic drivers compared to white motorists.

The institute said Wednesday that the integrity of those analyses was in question because the falsified records “were more likely to be reported as White drivers and less likely to be reported as Black or Hispanic drivers.”

The audit also found that some state police data was underreported to the racial profiling board, and those records were more likely to involve Hispanic drivers.

Falsified police data is nothing new.

In 2010, for example, several New York City officers faced internal charges based on allegations by a fellow officer that they manipulated crime stats. In Texas, state troopers were found to be inaccurately recording the race of minority drivers, according to a KXAN-TV report in 2015.

National News

Associated Press

Heat has forced organizers to cancel Twin Cities races that draw up to 20,000 runners

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A forecast that record high temperatures and humidity would create “extreme and dangerous” conditions prompted organizers to cancel two long-distance races Sunday in Minnesota’s two largest cities that were expected to draw up to 20,000 runners. The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon from Minneapolis to neighboring St. Paul had been expected to draw […]

2 hours ago

File - The Southern University Human Jukebox marching band warms up before the 2023 National Battle...

Associated Press

Federal student loan payments are starting again. Here’s what you need to know

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal student loan borrowers will need to start making payments again this month after a three-year-plus pause due to the pandemic. You should expect a bill that lays out how much you have to pay each month at least 21 days before your due date. It’s likely that most borrowers have […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., appears before the House Rules Committee to propose amendments to t...

Associated Press

Gaetz says he will seek to oust McCarthy as speaker this week and calls for new House leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Matt Gaetz said Sunday he will try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation that avoided a government shutdown. Gaetz, a longtime McCarthy nemesis, said McCarthy was in “brazen, material breach” of agreements he […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Chester County, Pa. election workers process mail-in and absentee ballots at West Chester Un...

Associated Press

Pennsylvania governor’s voter registration change draws Trump’s ire in echo of 2020 election clashes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Donald Trump has a familiar target in his sights: Pennsylvania’s voting rules. He never stopped attacking court decisions on mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, falsely claiming it as a reason for his 2020 loss in the crucial battleground state. Now, the former Republican president is seizing on a decision by […]

4 hours ago

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023, in Washington. The new term of the ...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court’s new term starts Monday. Here’s what you need to know

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems a bit quieter than in recent years, as the justices begin a new term. Major cases await, as they always do, including several challenges to regulatory agencies and efforts to regulate social media platforms. But nothing yet seems on par with conservative-driven decisions overturning Roe v. Wade’s right […]

5 hours ago

Run by a private firm hired by the city, migrants stay in a makeshift shelter at O'Hare Internation...

Associated Press

Chicago is keeping hundreds of migrants at airports while waiting on shelters and tents

CHICAGO (AP) — Hidden behind a heavy black curtain in one of the nation’s busiest airports is Chicago’s unsettling response to a growing population of asylum-seekers arriving by plane. Hundreds of migrants, from babies to the elderly, live inside a shuttle bus center at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1. They sleep on cardboard pads on […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Connecticut troopers falsified data on traffic stops reported to racial profiling board, audit says