Report: Connecticut police stopping minorities at high rates

(WFSB File Photo)

A new report on Connecticut police traffic stops singles out six local departments and a state police troop for pulling over minorities at higher rates than whites.

The report released Thursday by Central Connecticut State University analysts looked at data from October 2015 to September 2016 that all police departments were required to submit.

"Looking at close to 6,000 traffic stops at over 106 police departments in the state of Connecticut," said Ken Barone, of CCSU.

Analysts said Troop B state police in North Canaan and departments in Berlin, Monroe, Newtown, Norwich, Ridgefield and Darien had "statistically significant" disparities in traffic stops of minorities compared with stops of whites. They say those agencies will be analyzed further.

Statewide, about 15 percent of drivers stopped were black and 13 percent were Hispanic, the report said.

"When the report is put out and departments are forced to look at this after it's been publicly announced you know it kind of puts them in a position where they are defensive and I think that was brought up today," said Groton Police Chief L.J. Fusaro.

Police officials say they will be looking further into the findings. Some questioned the analysts' methodology.

"They're using the estimated driving population which we think flaws their conclusions," said Watertown Police Chief John Gavallas.

The report says stops of minority drivers statewide were more likely to happen during daylight hours when their race and ethnicity are more visible.

Police argued that each city or town's unique situation needs to be considered.

"They don't take into account the fact that a lot of people that live in the South End of Hartford have to come into Wethersfield to do their shopping,” said Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran.

The chiefs suggested looking at crash data.

"The unfortunate thing is that five years ago we tried to develop that methodology here in the state of Connecticut and the Chiefs of Police Association was strongly opposed to adding of race or ethnicity on accident forms,” Barone said.

Police said part of that reason is because lawmakers were concerned that it would lead to stereotyping with insurance companies and officers would be left with having to decide on a person’s race.

The board and police will be setting up further working groups over the next month to further analyze the statistics.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.