Traffic Stop Data Opens Dialogue About Racial Profiling in Connecticut | Connecticut Public Radio

Traffic Stop Data Opens Dialogue About Racial Profiling in Connecticut

Sep 12, 2014

A new report reveals a disparity between the frequency of traffic stops among white drivers and drivers of color in Connecticut.

It's the first time Connecticut has ever collected data on traffics stops. The report was compiled by the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University to comply with the state's Alvin Penn law, legislation aimed at identifying and eliminating racial profiling.

The report looked at data collected on traffic stops from October 2013 through the end of May this year. It shows that of the 366,000 traffic stops, 84 percent involved white drivers, 14 percent involved black drivers, and 12 percent involved Hispanic drivers.

The state population is 84 percent white, eight percent black, and ten percent Hispanic.

Disparities vary from town to town. For example, in Trumbull, where the black population is less than three percent, 17 percent of all traffic stops involved black drivers.

State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield is an African-American who says he has been the target of racial profiling. He pointed out that this is raw data, and to automatically assume that police are racial profiling would be premature, at this point.

"I think that if we took initial data," Holder-Winfield said, "and used it to say that this group is bad, and the the racial profiling prohibition advisory panel were perceived as moving an agenda -- as opposed to analyzing data -- I think that would be a problem.We would not help those populations who -- I think many of them think that from the instance of their birth, their skin criminalizes them."

The Racial Profiling Prohibition Project released the 492-page report, and they expect to provide analysis based on the report by January.

Watch CT-N's footage of a briefing for the report's release below: