Kinsey v. Guliuzza
Ruling after bench trial ; attached(Constantine, A.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
PRESTON J. KINSEY,
CASE NO. 3:10cv512(DFM)
BENCH TRIAL RULING
In 2010, the plaintiff, Preston Kinsey, brought this lawsuit
against the defendant, David Guliuzza, a New Haven police officer.
The plaintiff, an African American, alleges that the defendant, who
is white, pulled him over without reasonable suspicion or probable
Instead, the plaintiff claims the defendant stopped him
because of his race, depriving him of equal protection in violation
of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The defendant disputes the plaintiff's allegation and contends
that he stopped the plaintiff not because of his race but because
he failed to stop at a red light.
He contends that he did not
violate the plaintiff's equal protection rights.
In June 2013, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of a
A court trial was held before the
undersigned on November 12, 2013.
The plaintiff, the defendant and
New Haven police officer Michael Styles testified. After carefully
listening to the testimony of the witnesses and considering the
exhibits introduced and the arguments made by counsel, I make the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law, in accordance
with Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Findings of Facts
At 4:30 p.m. on April 29, 2008, the plaintiff was driving a
rental vehicle on Chapel Street in New Haven, Connecticut.
defendant, an officer with five years service at the time, had just
started his shift. He was driving alone in his police cruiser about
one to two car lengths behind the plaintiff's car.
intersection of Chapel and York streets.
Upon seeing this, the
defendant turned on his cruiser lights and siren and stopped the
The defendant did not know the plaintiff's race
(or gender or age for that matter) at the time the defendant
initiated the motor vehicle stop.
The defendant did not stop the
plaintiff's car because of the plaintiff's race.
stopped the plaintiff's vehicle because the plaintiff violated a
At no time did the defendant say anything to the
plaintiff to suggest a racial motive for the stop.
Following the procedure of the New Haven Police Department, the
defendant waited in his police cruiser until back-up arrived.
During this time, the plaintiff left his vehicle and approached the
defendant, who told him to get back into his car. A Yale University
A New Haven police officer, Officer Styles,
arrived next and parked behind the Yale officer.
With back-up in
place, the defendant approached the plaintiff's driver's side
window. Officer Styles and the Yale officer were at the rear of the
plaintiff's vehicle. The defendant told the plaintiff that he
stopped the plaintiff because he had failed to stop at a stop light.
The plaintiff denied running a red light and concluded that the
defendant must have stopped him because of his race.
told the defendant he was the victim of racial profiling and that
he would "see him in court."
(Def's Ex. 6.)
The defendant issued
the plaintiff a traffic ticket for failure to obey a traffic signal
in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-299.
(Def's Ex. 6.)
total time of the incident was 21 minutes. (Def's Ex. 8.) When the
plaintiff appeared in court, the charge was dismissed because the
defendant was not present.
(Def's Ex. 7.)
Logs confirm that the
defendant had not been served with a subpoena to appear. (Def's Ex.
III. Conclusions of Law
The plaintiff alleges that he was stopped, without any reason,
solely because of his race, in violation of the Equal Protection
The "central purpose" of the Equal Protection Clause is "the
prevention of official conduct discriminating on the basis of race."
The defendant did not request her presence.
race-based claim under the Equal Protection Clause, a plaintiff must
allege that a government actor intentionally discriminated against
him on the basis of his race." Brown v. City of Oneonta, 221 F.3d
329, 337 (2d Cir. 2000). A plaintiff alleging racial discrimination
in a traffic stop bears the burden of presenting evidence from which
a finder of fact could reasonably infer that the law enforcement
official involved was motivated by a discriminatory purpose.
Applying these principles to the evidence presented at trial,
the plaintiff has not sustained his burden of proof on his claim
that the defendant discriminated against him based on his race. The
plaintiff did not present any credible evidence of intentional
Based on the foregoing, the plaintiff has failed
to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant
violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Therefore, the Clerk is instructed to
enter judgment in favor of the defendant and to close this case.
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut this 18th day of November,
Donna F. Martinez
United States Magistrate Judge
The court did not find the plaintiff's testimony to be
credible. Among other things, the plaintiff insisted many times
that he saw a New Haven police officer armed with a shotgun at the
stop. On cross-examination, the defendant testified that the New
Haven police department does not equip its officers, either then or
now, with shotguns.
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