by Efrain Nieves
After a two year investigation the Department of Justice is accusing the East Haven, CT police department of discriminating against Latinos. Assistant attorney general Thomas J. Perez detailed the investigation in a 23 page letter to the East Haven Mayor.
“We find that EHPD engages in discriminatory policing against Latinos, including but not limited to targeting Latinos for discriminatory traffic enforcement, treating Latino drivers more harshly than non-Latino drivers after a traffic stop, and intentionally and woefully failing to design and implement internal systems of control that would identify, track, and prevent such misconduct.”
19.9% of traffic stops were Latino drivers. That’s a huge number considering only 10.3% of the East Haven population are Hispanic or Latino. CNN.com reports,
“In addition to the high rate of traffic stops, the report accused some EHPD officers of conducting unauthorized immigration investigations. The report mentioned “numerous incident reports” where EHPD officers contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check on the status or seek an immigration detention of a Latino person. Investigators said the tactic was “used to harass and intimidate Latinos rather than pursue legitimate law enforcement objectives.”
A few years ago a friend and I were stopped by CT state police. After showing the officer our identification cards, he asked for our social security cards. We told the officer there was no need for our social security cards and our valid I.D.s were verification enough.
I applaud the DOJ for this investigation and hope that all police departments violating the constitution are found and penalized according to the law.