Gov. Malloy Calls Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops “Very Troubling”

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Gov. Dannel Malloy said Monday night he was troubled by revelations in a Courant report that black and Hispanic motorists pulled over by local police are significantly more likely to receive a ticket or a summons, compared to white drivers stopped for the same offense.

“The apparent discrimination by police officers undermines our residents’ confidence in the criminal justice system,” Malloy said. “These statistical findings are very troubling, especially considering the fact that they do not include reports from towns that are not complying with the requirements of state law.”

The Courant reported that fewer than a third of local departments comply with a state law mandating the reporting of traffic-stop data to the African-American Affairs Commission. The Courant’s analysis was based on data from those agencies that did report.

For 13 categories of violations analyzed by the Courant, from speeding to running stop signs to broken tail lights, Hispanics were more likely than whites to be cited in every category. Blacks were more likely to be cited in 10 of the 13 categories. In some cases, blacks and Hispanics were twice as likely to receive a ticket or summons.

Officials with the commission and the state chapter of the NAACP said the analysis reinforces  persistent beliefs that police officers unfairly target blacks and Hispanics. Many police officers say that is not the case and the disparity could be explained by other factors, including the driver’s behavior or motor-vehicle history, or more-serious violations found during the stop.

Although state law has mandated that the African-American Affairs Commission analyze and report on the traffic-stop data, the commission has reported since 2005 that it lacks the resources and personnel to review the records. Monday night, Malloy said he was working to jump-start the state’s analysis.

“My office is developing a new system for reporting and analyzing this data, and we expect to be able to obtain real-time analysis of all traffic stops in the near future,” Malloy said. “In the meantime, I have asked all of our law enforcement training agencies to place a new emphasis on the dangers of racial profiling and other forms of biased policing.”

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35 thoughts on “Gov. Malloy Calls Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops “Very Troubling”

  1. travlinjack

    We can no longer afford these full pensions after only 20 years of service, yet i can’t say it is undeserved. Throw in bais and the awnser is clear. drop the police force by 50%. Let the remaining police worry about policing, let camaras dole out the traffic tickets to gain revenue for the poloticians. oops! I mean to stop people from speeding and going through red lights.

    1. Paul

      Excellent point Jack. If you hand any idea how these pensions were governed, you’d be up in arms. Cameras in cruisers ONLY. Unfortunately, the only thing that will stop “people” from acting stupid, at this point, is the big rock from outer space or the eruption of Yellowstone.

  2. CBS_Scooby

    A mention of “Men to Woman” would have been interesting to know as well.Along with the proportion of registered drivers, male versus female. Another fact that would be helpful is the amount of stops to the amount of tickets issued. Funny thing is there are not to many 100CLUB signs in high minority sections of towns, go figure. I guess cops can see your color 1/4 mile down the road when they are doing radar, must be the carrots.

  3. Dirty Doggg

    What this report doesn’t examine is what were the temperments of the drivers. Did the drivers have prior criminal or motor vehicle records? Were they known to the police from previous run-ins?

    It’s well-known that a driver being polite is more likely to result in just a warning. But if the drivers were rude and indignant, sure they’re going to get a ticket. Are blacks and Hispanics ruder during traffic stops than whites? Very possibly so. It’s just a cultural thing — they’re taught to fight, a necessary survival skill in their communities, especially poorer ones. A person who is being stopped for equipment violations is more likely to be poor and uneducated to begin with — a person who was educated could afford a newer vehicle and could properly maintain it. We know there is somewhat of an income disparity among the races. Also, with regard to speeding stops, better-educated people can afford and effectively use a radar detector, making poor (and thus minority) people more likely to be stopped for speeding. An uneducated person is more likely to adopt a belligerent attitude, resulting in a ticket. Also, there are a disproportionate number of minorities in prison. They are more likely to commit crime — why would they not be more inclined also to commit traffic violations or be rude to the officer? Perhaps the motorist is known to be a troublemaker to the officer from previous run-ins, or the person has a formal arrest record.

    No reporter of course is going to make a statement to this effect, but it’s something we need to consider. And of course Governor Malloy has to act appalled. What’s he going to say?

    This isn’t to say all blacks and Hispanics are poor, uneducated, and rude while whites are not, just that a slightly higher percentage of them are, as reflected in the statistics.

    To those who might attack my post as ignorant, bigoted, or uneducated I am none of these. I simply face reality, even if that reality is unpleasant.

    1. ggjkdmt

      Dirty Doggg. You make interesting points. If a person has equipment violations, then I agree that the view of them most likely having a lower income is reasonable because if their income is higher, they are more likely to fix the violation sooner.

      You may want to re-think some of the words used before calling out anyone in advance of attacking your post though. When you mentioned “Are blacks and Hispanics ruder during traffic stops than whites? Very possibly so. It’s just a cultural thing — they’re taught to fight, a necessary survival skill in their communities, especially poorer ones.”. I fail to see how that is a cultural thing? Some Hispanics are indeed more comfortable in using and letting their emotions show (which can include emotional reaction vs. an intellectual reaction) in all fairness which can lead to a person saying something or acting in a way that is simply too rash for the situation. But stating that they’re taught to fight as a necessary survival skill in their communities sounds more like something out of “West Side Story”.

      Statistically speaking, it is true that as a percentage there has been a larger group of poor and uneducated within Hispanic and black populations in the US. The same statistics state that over the last 20 years, that percentage has been decreasing within those same populations while the percentage of poor and uneducated within white communities has either stayed the same or increased slightly. With the Hispanic and Black communities becoming the majority over time (e.g. The Hispanic community will be the majority in most parts of the country in 15 to 20 years and the overall majority in the country within 35 years according to US government statistics), what does that say about the white soon to be minority?

    2. R Grog

      Dirty Dogg, I agree 100% with your post! The liberal media will always leave important information out so as to slant a story to fit their agenda.

  4. reasonable

    I don’t think the general public realizes that on the form that is used to report these statistics, the only violation listed is the violation that the person was initially stopped for. This means that if someone is stopped for not having a front license plate and it is then discovered that their operator’s license is suspended, the stat sheet would reflect that they were stopped for the license plate violation and issued a summons. There is no way to know, based on the information submitted, what the final charges were. For that matter, a stop for having a head lamp out that results in a DUI would also reflect as an arrest for having a head lamp out. Should law enforcement ignore these more serious issues for fear of being deemed racially biased? Racial profiling is the act of stopping someone because of their race. If the courant wants to examine the issue, the only question that should be asked is whether more blacks and hispanics were stopped than whites. Even then, the question is far more complicated. What are the demographics of a particular town? I would hope that more minorities are stopped in Hartford than in Avon for example simply because Hartford has a higher minority population. This question is far too complex to be answered this simply. Bottom line, don’t stir up trouble where there is none.

  5. admiralbrown

    Reasonable makes some good points. For myself I’d like to see how the statistics are reported. One of my favorite abused statistics shows that more people of European descent go to college than people of African descent. But if you look at the data and filter by household income you seen the same percentages of both groups going to college. Pretty much it is not race, but household income that predicts if you will go to college or not. But you can spin the data.
    The same goes for this data. I’m speculating, but are there more police per capita in Hartford than Avon so that there is more of a chance of being stopped in Hartford than Avon? Are there location based biases toward the police? By that I mean does the person stopped by an officer saying, “I’m sorry officer why have I been stopped.” get a written warning where a person stopped and greets the officer by saying, “Why are you harassing me?” gets a ticket.
    Of course the same can be said of the police, do the city police have an attitude that leads to confrontation where the town police have a less stressful existence and are more willing to say “Don’t let it happen again.”

    1. Lost

      Are the driver’s in this statisitcal mockery repeat offenders or first timers? What are the time’s they are getting pulled over (morning/noon/evening/night)? What type of roadways are they getting pulled over on? What are the current traffic conditions when they get pulled over (rush hour)?

      I’d bet that anyone getting pulled over on a Friday at 5:30pm on I-91 near Hartford gets a ticket, where as with the same violation at 2pm on a back road they would get a warning.

  6. Prince

    So it is ok to give a speeding ticket if the person is an illegal, but if they are not, let them go?? What does one have to do with the other.
    @AdmiralBrown, in this country, income is often determined by race so it is a racial issue. You cannot ignore history or current issues when talking about economic status. There is no excuse for the disparity in violations. In a state that is over 3/4 white, in a nation where whites commit more crimes, how can this be rationally explained? A previous poster said “don’t stur up trouble where there is none.” And that is the nucleus of the problem. It may not be a problem for you or your neighbors, but for many people of color in this state it has long been a problem.

    1. Kim

      I never said it was ‘ok’ – those are your words. I simply asked for an additional statistic, which if provided would lead me to ask how illegals are handled

    2. R Grog

      There certainly is a logical explanation for this so called “disparity.” What are the demographics of the areas these tickets are being written in? Are there more hispanics and blacks than whites in the north and south end of Hartford. Total population of the state is irrelevant. Look at the majority population inthe areas of the offenses. This story is raciall biased….against the whites!

  7. vanguard

    Given the recent actions depicted in areas like East Haven,
    Danbury, New London,etc. where substantial evidence has
    resulted in either the Courts finding for plaintiffs that
    sued for civil rights violations or City officials admitting
    guilt for obvious profiling behavior, how do people that are
    intelligent,mature,and experienced insist on ignoring this
    behavior and looking the other way? Our society appears to
    be going backwards as issues of clearly disparate treat-
    ment rise to the forefront. Wouldn`t we all be better served
    if we all recognized and accedpted the truth and made a
    solemn committment to DEAL with the problems in an honest
    and forthright manner? We will have to do that sooner or

  8. Dawn Cushman

    The survey also does not take into consideration the race of the officer who pulled the person over. So, you can’t really address whether there were more white officers pulling over Hispanics, or more black officers pulling over white folks. The survey doesn’t have all the variables and so is biased in itself.

    1. R Grog

      That is irrelevant. A cop is a cop is a cop. You are correct about the story being biased. It lacks demographics for the areas.

      1. Kim

        I disagree with your statement ‘a cop is a cop is a cop’. Police are subject to – and guilty of – the same biases and prejudices, as well as the same tendencies towards anger, as the rest of us. Your subjectivity is glaringly obvious here

  9. Ramon

    that is really funny, that someone would say that it happens more in Hartford because the population is mostly hispanic,did someone forgot to mention to you that the mayor of hartford is Puerto Rican, and it happens more in the white towns than the inner city, check with the FBI to see who does it more, and to say that hispanic and blacks are rude during traffic stops, it’s very dump for you to say, i happened to be Puerto Rican, well educated and good paying job, never been in trouble with the law and I’m constantly being pulled over for no reason, Is it because i drive an expensive car, and the police can’t seem to get used to the idea that we hispanics and blacks do have an education and can afford to drive luxury cars too.

  10. baborn3

    Did it trouble you Gov. Malloy when your son got special treatment for his multiple arrests and those other “racial people” did not?

  11. R Grog

    It would be interesting to know where these offenses were ocurring. If in the north end of Hartford, New Britain, East Haven, it would seem logical, considering the demographics that more hispanics and blacks received tickets than whites. It the majority of these offenses were ocurring in towns like Simsbury, Avon, Kent and such, then maybe they were on to something. Malloy’s reaction is disturbing. This story is printed for the sole purpose to create a racial ruckus. Without the locations and demographics of the locations, the information in this story means absolutely nothing. Has anyone driven down Maple Ave in the south end of Hartford lately? Cars, driven by, you guessed it, hispanics blowing through stop signs. Not rolling through, BLOWING through. Cars, driven by, again, you guessed it, hispanics driving on the sidewalks. All the unformation in this story shows is the police are doing their jobs and Malloy is pandering to the blacks and hispanics. He is playing them with his fake outrage.

  12. Brew Ha Ha

    I agree with R Grog. Malloy is using this useless information to try and stir up a racial divide for political purposes only. Instead of trying to unite this state he wants to further divide it. Union vs non-union white vs non-white. I don’t care what color the skin is or what city your in or how well educated you are. If you are driving over the speed limit, driving recklessly, on your cell and driving, don’t signal before making a turn you deserve a ticket if the policeman is inclined to give you one. There are to many drivers in this state that do not know the driving laws and deserve tickets.

    1. Kim

      they know the driving laws; they simply ignore them with official sanction. By that I mean I’ve actually watched drivers go through red lights and stop signs in full view of police officers, with no action. Police do it themselves. Sadly, nothing will change until there is a massive tragedy (other than a cop running a light and killing someone – he’ll get a ‘reduced’ punishment)

  13. Dirty Doggg

    Often, the police give someone a break. Who is to say that these minority drivers weren’t originally stopped for something more serious and were issued a ticket for a more minor offense? For example, maybe a motorist was driving 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. Instead of an arrest for reckless driving, the police officer may have given him a simple infraction for speeding.

    Such a break could of course also be given to a white driver. Is it possible that minority drivers commit more serious traffic violations? Why not? Some behaviors are learned in upbringing. If a minority sees people around him driving crazily he may do the same himself. This wouldn’t be something I’d be happy about but I think it’s entirely feasible.

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