NAACP members discuss fake state police tickets
July 20, 2023
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Members of NAACP chapters from all over Connecticut met Wednesday evening to learn more about a report that revealed state police troopers falsified tens of thousands of traffic ticket records.
The room was packed with activists, eager to hear more about the report.
“This is directly dealing with racial profiling, people losing their lives. This is serious business,” said Scot X. Esdaile, Connecticut state NAACP President.
Ken Barone, the project manager of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, did a presentation on the audit findings. Barone said his team reviewed more than 800,000 infractions issued from 2014 to 2021. The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act aims to prevent racial profiling. The 1999 law requires state and local police to submit traffic data to the Racial Profiling Prohibition Advisory Board.
Researchers found the number of tickets reported to the advisory board didn’t match those reported to the state’s judicial court system. They determined more than 25,000 tickets were fake. The data appears as though troopers ticketed more white drivers while underreporting traffic stops with people of color.
“It’s mind-blowing that something like this could go unchecked for so long,” said Dori Dumas, the New Haven NAACP president. “I think it’s ridiculous that it took this report to come out for us to know that people are abusing our jobs and sending false information.”
Researchers were not able to determine if these records were intentionally falsified or were wrong due to human error. But some believe trust between the public and police is lost.
“This is definitely something that is going to take years to address and unfortunately years to continue to rebuild trust that was already broken,” said Claudine Constant, the public policy and advocacy director for ACLU-CT.
News 8 reached out to state police for an updated comment. A spokesperson said they are unable to comment due to the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.
Governor Ned Lamont told reporters Wednesday that an outside firm will begin reviewing state police records in a week.
In the meantime, Senator Patricia Billie Miller, the chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Democratic Caucus, told activists now is the time to act.
“It’s very, very important for your voices to be heard,” she said. “They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Well, we need you to squeak.”