Study: East Haven Police Ticket More Hispanics

FOX News, April 23, 2010

Students at Yale Law School on Friday released an analysis showing that more than half of the tickets East Haven police issued along two main roads went to Hispanic drivers, even though Hispanics make up less than 6 percent of the population.

Their report comes as the police department faces a federal investigation into bias allegations.

The report, aided by Yale statisticians, also said East Haven police officers substantially underreported the number of tickets issued to Hispanic drivers by reporting most of them as white. It cited one officer as reporting virtually all of his tickets were issued to white drivers and none to Hispanics, although nearly 80 percent of his tickets were issued to Hispanic drivers.

The Rev. James Manship, who was arrested last year while videotaping police officers in an attempt to document alleged harassment of Hispanics, said he was troubled but not surprised by the findings. {snip}

“These numbers support the stories of racial profiling and police abuse that I have heard from my parishioners,” Manship said in a statement.

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The Justice Department opened an investigation in December looking into nearly two dozen allegations of police misconduct.

The Justice Department sent a letter last week to East Haven officials saying the police department lacks modern rules of conduct for officers, written guidance on the use of force and cited concerns the department may not require officers to thoroughly report all uses of force.

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But East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon, citing the letter, sent a suspension letter this week to Police Chief Leonard Gallo, who was placed on administrative leave.

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The study by Yale Law School students focused on 376 traffic tickets issued on two main thoroughfares in East Haven, a New Haven suburb. It concluded that 210 tickets, or 56 percent, were issued to drivers with Hispanic names. The Hispanic population in East Haven is 5.8 percent.

{snip}

The report compared the names of people on the tickets to what it called authoritative lists of Hispanic names developed by the U.S. Census and other researchers.

The report acknowledged the limited nature of data on ticket forms makes it impossible to conclusively explain the disparity but said the percentage of Hispanic drivers pulled over was well beyond their makeup in the town. The disparity virtually disappears when East Haven police participate in programs under state or federal guidelines, such as seat belt enforcement, the report said.

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