UNITED STATES NEWS

Connecticut troopers under federal investigation for allegedly submitting false traffic stop data

Aug 4, 2023, 3:03 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has taken over an investigation into allegations that hundreds of Connecticut state troopers may have submitted false information on thousands of traffic infractions to a racial profiling board, data that made it appear police were pulling over more white drivers than they were, the state’s top prosecutor said.

Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin told WTNH-TV on Thursday that the DOJ asked his office to suspend its investigation, which was ordered by Gov. Ned Lamont, because it is doing its own probe.

“I agreed with that decision,” Griffin said in a taping for the station’s weekend news show “This Week in Connecticut.”

“I think DOJ brings the tools and the resources necessary to conduct this investigation, on the one hand,” he said. “On the other, I think that the investigation will be thorough. I think that it will be independent.”

Griffin confirmed the information in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Friday.

Civil rights groups had raised questions about the objectivity of the investigation being conducted by Griffin’s office, which works with the state police on criminal cases.

In addition to the Justice Department inquiry, an independent investigation ordered by Lamont is already being led by former Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, who now works in private law practice.

The Justice Department did not return an email message seeking comment. The Connecticut U.S. attorney’s office and state police officials declined to comment Friday.

Adam Joseph, Lamont’s communications director, said the governor’s office has not been notified of any DOJ investigation.

“We would welcome any law enforcement investigation in order to get to the bottom of this matter,” Joseph said in a statement.

In an audit released in June, data analysts with The University of Connecticut said they had a “high degree of confidence” that more than 300 of 1,300 troopers reviewed submitted false and inaccurate information on at least 26,000 — and as many as 58,500 — traffic stop infractions between 2014 and 2021. The researchers believe the infractions were never actually given to drivers.

The alleged false information was submitted to a statewide police traffic stops database, which the analysts use to prepare reports on the race and ethnicity of drivers stopped by all Connecticut police agencies under a 1999 law aimed at preventing racial profiling. Those reports have shown that police statewide have been pulling over Black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionate rates.

The reputed bogus data was more likely to identify motorists as white than as Black or Hispanic, skewing the data used for the reports, the audit said. Civil rights groups say the bogus data could mean those disproportionate rates are worse than the reports have indicated.

Analysts, however, cautioned that they did not try to determine whether the records were intentionally falsified or were wrong due to carelessness or human error.

The auditors said the falsified infractions were entered into the state police’s internal system but not submitted to the state court system, which adjudicates all traffic infractions issued statewide — supporting the belief that troopers reported stops that never happened and infractions never issued.

The audit was spurred by a Hearst Connecticut Media report last year that said four state troopers in an eastern Connecticut barracks intentionally created 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.

State lawmakers also have been looking into the questioned data. And state police also have received a subpoena related to the traffic stop data from the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is looking into whether false data was used to secure federal money, the state’s public safety commissioner, James Rovella, has said.

Rovella has said he is angry about the false-data allegations, while the state police union has been urging against a rush to judgment about the claims.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said the Justice Department takeover of the investigation was a welcome step. It is calling for the decertification of all state police troopers and supervisors involved in submitting false information, which would cause them to lose their jobs.

United States News

FILE - Leaders take their seats for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO summit in...

Associated Press

With words, deeds and arms deals, allies make the case for NATO in terms that would appeal to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — European allies in NATO are stepping up their military spending, just as Donald Trump wanted. They’re pointing to common interests, such as concerns over China. They’re creating American jobs by buying U.S. weapons. In words, deeds and arms deals, leaders of the United States’ partners in NATO are making the case for […]

22 minutes ago

Associated Press

The UN condemns increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace, stability and security in the country and the region. Friday’s resolution expresses grave concern at illegal arms and ammunition flowing into Haiti and their link […]

6 hours ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Inside the courtroom as case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday without a verdict but with tears of relief for the actor and a small coterie of family who had settled into a somber daily routine on wooden benches inside a windowless New Mexico […]

6 hours ago

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a speech during the opening of the High-L...

Associated Press

UN chief urges funds for Palestinians, saying Israel is forcing Gazans ‘to move like human pinballs’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief appealed for funding Friday for the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, accusing Israel of issuing evacuation orders that force Palestinians “to move like human pinballs across a landscape of destruction and death.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a donor’s […]

7 hours ago

Meals on Wheels employees take advantage of an assembly line to prepare bags of food for clients, F...

Associated Press

Houston community groups strain to keep feeding and cooling a city battered by repeat storms

HOUSTON (AP) — The deafening hum of a generator was a welcome noise Thursday evening at a Houston independent living center where several dozen seniors had lost power in the wake of Hurricane Beryl. Joe and Terri Hackl, who had pulled up with the backup electricity source after delivering hundreds of meals all day, estimate […]

8 hours ago

Twin sisters Jo and Joy Banner pose for a photograph in front of their business, Fee-Fo-Lay Café, ...

Associated Press

Historically Black Cancer Alley town splits over a planned grain terminal in Louisiana

WALLACE, La. (AP) — Sisters Jo and Dr. Joy Banner live just miles from where their ancestors were enslaved more than 200 years ago in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Their tidy Creole cottage cafe in the small, river-front town of Wallace lies yards away from property their great-grandparents bought more than a century […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Connecticut troopers under federal investigation for allegedly submitting false traffic stop data