Stafstrom: It’s A Reflection Of Unchecked Racism, Classism, Income Inequality, Food Insecurity And Educational Disparity

State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, co-chair of the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee, shares with constituents his thoughts in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. “The sentiments we have seen spill out on streets around the nation, including here in Bridgeport, is not just about a murder in Minnesota. It’s a reflection of unchecked racism, classism, income inequality, food insecurity and educational disparity.”

As I reflect on the horrible reality of George Floyd being murdered by a police officer in broad daylight, I recall use of force incidents by police officers in our own City and State. These past few days, I have been asked by many folks what we as a state have done and can do in response.

By way of background, in June of 2019, I worked with my Judiciary Committee Co-chair, Senator Gary Winfield of New Haven, to pass Senate Bill 380, which narrows the instances when deadly force is justified.

On S.B. 380
The law now specifies that physical force is defined as likely to cause serious physical injury and includes a choke-hold or other methods of restraint applied to another person’s neck area. The Act also
— requires that certain body-worn or dashboard camera recordings be disclosable to the public within 96 hours after an incident
— provides an update and tightening of when a police officer can engage in a vehicle pursuit
— generally prohibits a police officer engaged in a vehicle pursuit from discharging a firearm into or at a fleeing motor vehicle

I was proud to lead House passage of the bill and defended it in a 5 hour debate. The bill passed largely along party lines.

While the passage of the legislation was a step in the right direction, there is still much more that needs to be done to address the issues of police accountability, transparency, and racial equity.

In my capacity as Co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, I am committed to continuing to work to help police departments implement evidence-based changes in policies and training to reduce fatal police-citizen encounters. We must also continue to look at what use of force means and how it is implemented in the communities police are tasked with representing. Specifically, we need to consider issues of training and accountability related to what leads up to the actual use of force incident. The work to study these issues and craft policy changes has been ongoing.

But, changes in policing alone will not solve our issues. The sentiments we have seen spill out on streets around the nation, including here in Bridgeport, is not just about a murder in Minnesota. It’s a reflection of unchecked racism, classism, income inequality, food insecurity and educational disparity.

Here in Connecticut, where many of these issues are particularly acute and where so much opportunity is driven by one’s zip code, I think we can all recognize that to avenge George Floyd’s death and prevent the next one, we have to address these larger, systemic issues as well.  Simply put: “If you want peace, work for justice.”

I want to thank the demonstrators who are making themselves heard in a constructive manner and also thank our local law enforcement for handling the matter with appropriate discretion to date here in Connecticut. I add my prayers for George Floyd and his family and re-commit to the task ahead of us.

As always, please feel free to reach me with any questions, comments or concerns at or 860-240-8585. Please be sure to follow my Facebook and Twitter pages for more frequent updates.



  1. State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, words, words, words but no real action, do you really know what the protesters are marching for, have you spoken to them? The black community sees the police as occupying force, like a hostile army and those words were spoken to America last night by the President of the United States, the only thing you are offering are words.

  2. Who can argue with these comments?
    Unfortunately this is not the first time there has been such a tragedy and after a flurry, nothing changed.
    This is Connecticut and as long as the affluent suburbs ringing the cities are unaffected, nothing will change. For too many in CT and across the US, this presents another chance for people’s momentary sanctimony and then back to the way it’s always been.
    Think this is as true with both the affluent and the deprived.

  3. 2020 found Bridgeport data missing from racial profiling report showing statewide improvement.

    The Bridgeport Police Department is the only municipal department in the state to have above average racial disparities in traffic stops and violations in 2018, preliminary findings of a statewide racial profiling analysis show. Instead of patting yourself on the back do something about those things!
    State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, are you going to talk about it or be about it. Do you hear the sound of air? That’s State Rep. Steve Stafstrom blowing smoke up the asses of Bridgeport residents!

  4. Nice words, but I think Steve has some of that “whitesplaining” going on here.

    Has he actually spoken up for his black Bridgeport constituents against the racism within the Bridgeport Police Department? Has he met with the Justice for Jayson group and Bridgeport Generation Now to discuss racist policing in Bridgeport? Does he support giving the Bridgeport police commission more backbone to carry out its mission and courage to change the police department, perhaps with some new citizen commissioners who are not aligned with the administration?

  5. State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, let offer a few things, having police officers for condition for hiring to requiring applicant reside in the city/town in that city/town, this provides trust to the resident in seeing and feeling the police are not a occupying force, like a hostile army. Rep. Stafstrom, it would be nice when you have a photo-op about Racism, Classism, Income Inequality, Food Insecurity And Educational Disparity, that you might have someone black and a female in making your presentation.

  6. Rep Stafstrom. It ice to see the language about choke holds but please put this into context. Does it forbid police from using choke holds and make it a felony to do so? That a police officer will be summarily dismisses if he attempts to do so?
    Or does it fall into prohibited acts unless the police officer is in “fear” of his life?

  7. Also, how about body cams? Is it a felony not to have one turned on when attempting an arrest? Or is it understandable how an officer can forget to turn his on? Do we have to probe an officer state of mind or is it black and white? And “black and white” is not intended as a joke.

  8. *** Racial violence, civil unrest has been a distinct part of American history since 1660. Proof enough that the political game itself is not just rigged, but broken! Even though peaceful protest has its place, there’s always “some” of the young that see an opportunity for new action to them, to express there blind rage as a reaction to “old-pain” by violent rioting & everything that goes with it. I will not give a “pep-rally blog” as to the 5-W’s & reasons of the un-rest because I’am a senior now & may see things a bit different now than when I was a young vato. However, I still believe that Rainbows do come out after a Storm. ***

  9. And talking about Weasels, what about Ganim taking off last weekend and then saying he didn’t show up because he wanted to diffuse the situation???
    Give me a break. The public should DEMAND a better explanation than what he has come up with.

    1. Bob,who cares if Joe hid out in Easton during the protest. All he would have done is feign concern at the rally downtown with Blumenthal, big deal.Besides, I’m sure Mario was at the Annex on Suburban Ave if anything big came up.

      1. Thank you Harvey. I feel much better knowing that. But he is still Mayor Weasel as far as I’m concerned. You won’t see him giving back any of his salary to make up for his no show.


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