Racial and ethnic disparities in policing has long been an uneasy topic in Connecticut and across the country. And that was reflected in reaction to a Sunday story in the Courant reporting that black and Hispanic motorists pulled over for traffic violations were more likely to receive a ticket than were white motorists pulled over for the same offense.
Many commenters and email writers were quick to challenge the findings, advancing a slew of reasons why the data or the analysis was flawed, and confidently assuring that there was a legitimate reason for any disparities in policing. Some raised legitimate questions. Others misunderstood the analysis.
The Courant performed a similar analysis in 2012 – and received a similarly visceral reaction from many readers. So as we did three years ago, here’s an elucidation on a few of the topics raised by readers.
The most common misconception was that the reported disparities simply indicate that black and Hispanic drivers violate traffic laws at higher rates than white motorists. “Could minority drivers commit more motor vehicle violations than non-minority drivers?” one poster asked. “No, this can’t be true. that would be racist.” Continue reading