ned lamont
Gov. Ned Lamont answers questions following an Aug. 7, 2023 press conference Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Gov. Ned Lamont endorsed on Monday a decision by Connecticut’s top prosecutor to suspend an investigation into tens of thousands of falsified traffic records by State Police troopers as the U.S. Justice Department conducts its own criminal investigation.

Late last week, Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin told WTNH that federal authorities had asked state prosecutors to stand down as they conduct their own probe of at least 25,966 instances where state troopers misreported racial profiling data on traffic citations. 

Asked Monday about the decision to halt the state investigation amid a federal inquiry, the governor called the move “appropriate.”

“How many different investigations do you want? If the federal DOJ is getting this, I think Pat Griffin, the state’s attorney, thought it was important to step back and let them,” Lamont said. “We’re going to coordinate any way we can, be absolutely forthcoming, no stone left unturned.”

State and federal officials have revealed several investigations of the falsified ticket records since June when the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project released an audit of eight years of traffic reporting which found a “high likelihood” that more than 25,966 records had been falsified and skewed efforts to track racial profiling.

In addition to the DOJ probe, state lawmakers convened a hearing to question State Police officials and Lamont has asked former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly will lead an investigation into how the false records came to be submitted and how similar events can be prevented in the future. 

“The feds are going to look into whether this is done purposefully, intentionally or whether it was done inadvertently by mistake,” Lamont said Monday. “What Deirdre is going to do is take a look at what happened and how can we make sure this never happens again. Is that technology? Is that leadership? Is that the platform? Let’s make sure that never happens again.”

In an interview Thursday with WTNH’s Dennis House, Griffin said he agreed with the DOJ’s request to take over the criminal investigation into the issue in an effort to avoid running two parallel investigations simultaneously. 

patrick griffin
Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin during a July 20, 2023 press conference Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

“You can imagine why, right?” Griffin said. “Who’s going to take control of the evidence? Who’s going to do interviews? And without being overly simplistic, you can’t have two cooks in the same kitchen working off the same cookbook.”

Griffin elaborated in a statement on Tuesday, saying the Division of Criminal Justice initially referred the matter to federal authorities back in September 2022 following the division’s review of an internal State Police investigation. In early July, the division suspended its investigation at the DOJ’s request, Griffin said. 

“As the head of the Division of Criminal Justice, my election to have our investigative team stand down in response to the DOJ request was made after careful consideration, and reflects a real concern that simultaneous state and federal investigations would involve unnecessary duplication of efforts that could complicate and/or compromise the overall investigation,” he said. “The DOJ brings the tools and resources necessary to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.”

Meanwhile, a separate investigation into the matter is underway at the U.S. Department of Transportation. During a legislative hearing in July, Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella said his agency had received a subpoena from the DOT’s inspector general’s office.