Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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What are the racial profiling guidelines in Connecticut?

Every day, Connecticut residents are forced to engage with law enforcement officers over any number of suspected violations, including minor traffic stops. And while the majority of encounters go according to textbook, some do involve incidents of racial profiling on the part of authorities against alleged suspects. Understanding your rights as a motorist and civilian in the state of Connecticut can be crucial to defending yourself against criminal allegations.

The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act was instituted in the state of Connecticut in 1999, and is a vital defense tool that prohibits law enforcement officers from stopping motorists based on a number of protected classes. According to, the law prohibits authorities from conducting a traffic stop based primarily on a person’s color, ethnicity, age, race, gender or sexual orientation. The state guideline is enforced by the Office of Policy and Management, and also mandates that state funding can be denied to police and emergency services agencies that do not comply with the anti-discrimination plan.

Another important aspect of the state law is that it requires law enforcement officers to provide people with access to pursue discrimination complaints. Authorities must inform you on how to file a complaint during a traffic stop, so that you can document an incident of racial profiling if and when it occurs. Beyond that, the statute dictates that information regarding recorded traffic stops be documented and collected by law enforcement agencies in the state.

Given that law enforcement officers and agencies have a considerable amount of legal discretion to enforce the law, such racial profiling measures may not apply in every case. No legal counsel can be gathered from the information provided above.

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