Study: Traffic stops more likely for black, Hispanic drivers in Fairfield

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A newly released state report found that black and Hispanic drivers are much more likely to get pulled over in Fairfield.             

The state looked at more than 500,000 traffic stops across Connecticut in 2017. In Fairfield, they discovered that minority drivers were much more likely to get pulled over during the daytime.

"The idea of the methodology is that officers have a greater ability to determine the race or ethnicity of drivers in the presence of light,” says Ken Barone, of the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project.

Fairfield's police chief says those numbers don't tell the whole story. He says the report underestimates just how many minority drivers are on Fairfield roads.

"I believe it changes hourly and it can be as simple as an accident on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway that causes a dramatic change in our demographics," says Chief Chris Lyddy. 

Out of 107 police agencies in Connecticut, the report only singled out two others - Derby Police and State Police Troop K - for a more detailed review, based on a spike in minority stops during the day. Study authors say a big difference between daylight and nighttime stops can possibly indicate racial profiling, because officers can see a driver’s ethnicity during the day.

Statewide, the report found black and Hispanic drivers are less likely to get off with a warning and more likely to get their cars searched.

However, the study shows that the number of minority stops continues to go down. Researchers say they need to study the 2018 numbers to see if it is a trend.

Fairfield Police Response to Report


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