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Union says allegations against Connecticut state police officers involved in ticket scandal are misleading

Members of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit on scene.
Jessica Hill
Members of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit on scene.

The former Connecticut state police union president is defending himself and his fellow troopers against federal and state investigations into a fake ticket scandal — and against the backlash he says they have received from media attention.

Andrew Matthews led the union from 2010 to 2018 and currently serves as its executive director. On Wednesday, he said news outlets have politicized data from an audit of the state's racial profiling database to “control the narrative” around policing.

“We don't speak on active investigations,” Matthews said. “But this has gotten out of control in the press to the point our people are being threatened.”

An audit of the state's racial profiling database found that between 2014 and 2021, more than 25,000 tickets were falsified.

According to a freedom of information request obtained by CT Mirror, Matthews’ badge number is associated with more than 200 infractions in question.

Matthews said he did not have a computer in his cruiser and relied on dispatchers to report his traffic stops. He cited this as a potential reason for many of the misreported tickets across the force.

Earlier this month, the Connecticut State Police Union filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the release of troopers' names in a fake ticket probe.

Union president Todd Fedigan said the media is using that data to “change the narrative.”

“For some media organizations, no matter what was provided on our testimony on July 26, or any subsequent interview, our narrative is being changed,” Fedigan said. “So the media are actively trying to discredit union officials who dare to defend the vast majority of the troopers who may have only tripped the data metric.”

The union said they will question the methodology and procedure of the audit.

Three hundred fifty-four troopers were flagged by auditors on April 26. Report author Ken Barone of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project met with State Police Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davison, who Matthews said was able to explain why some of those officers would have been flagged.

By May, they were left with 130. According to Matthews and Fedigan, more than 20% of those officers are now exonerated, which has not been verified by state officials.

“The question is, when he met with him in May, why didn't he continue to listen to the explanations as to why the 130 didn't deserve to be on the list,” Mathhews said. “And to prove their point, how is it that to this date, almost a month after the hearing, have you already cleared 20%? Does anybody in the press find that concerning?”

Matthews also criticized Barone for allegedly failing to notify of the report until after it was released.

“When the report came out, you all started calling us 5-10 minutes after it came out,” Matthews said. “We didn't even know what you were talking about. But the ACLU, members of the legislature, Mr. Barone, and our command staff all had statements prepared and released immediately, the union wasn't involved at all. That's one big flaw in the process for Mr. Barone in his audits, is that you should talk to the people that actually know the job before you embarrass, humiliate, and defame people's name and reputation.”

The union's press conference was convened a day before the advisory board of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project was expected to meet Thursday.

Federal and state investigations are also underway.

“I have full faith in the Department of Justice,” Matthews said. “The federal government, we are law enforcement, brothers and sisters, I'm sure they're going to treat people with respect and dignity.”

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.