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Report finds racial disparity in CT traffic stops declined in 2022

Car driver hands over her Blue Envelope to the patrol officer during the traffic stop exercise
Brian Scott-Smith
Car driver hands over her Blue Envelope to the patrol officer during the traffic stop exercise

Racial disparity in traffic stops by Connecticut state and local police declined in 2022, according to the finding of a preliminary report released by the state’s Racial Profiling Prohibition Project (CTRP3) on Thursday.

There was a significant reduction in traffic stops involving Black and Latino drivers. There were also fewer infractions and more verbal and written warnings, the report said.

The reduction is probably due to the police accountability bill passed by state lawmakers in 2020 in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, UConn researcher and manager of the project Ken Barone told the project’s advisory board.

“The accountability bill in 2020 really limited law enforcement’s ability to make consent searches. Consent searches were what was largely driving the disparities in those earlier years,” he said

“We found in previous years Black and Hispanic drivers were three to five times more likely to be asked to have their vehicles searched. And those searches were not yielding high amounts of contraband,” Barone said.

Police traffic stops increased by 14% in 2022, compared to 2021. But they are yet to reach the pre-pandemic level of 2019, he said.

It’s the project’s first analysis of traffic stops to be released since an audit found a number of state police officers involved in issuing more than 25,000 fake traffic tickets in years leading up to 2020.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.