A Republican candidate for Connecticut's state legislature says she was stopped by a state trooper while going door-to-door and told she would need a permit to campaign.
The Rev. Ernestine Holloway, who is black, says the incident occurred last week and she believes it was a case of racial profiling.
Holloway is running against Democratic state Rep. Buddy Altobello of Meriden.
Holloway says she was with volunteers distributing campaign literature in Middlefield when they were stopped.
"He said ma’am, you need a peddler’s license to hand out what you’re handing out. I said but we’re not peddling. We’re not soliciting, so why do we need one?" Holloway told NBC Connecticut.
She said rather than argue with the trooper, she went to town hall and obtained a peddler's license, which is not needed to campaign.
The trooper who stopped the Holloway team is also a driver for Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Susan Bysiewicz, leading Holloway to question the trooper's true motivation.
Calling reports of the incident deeply disturbing, in a statement Bysiewicz said she has severed ties with the trooper involved and “I have zero tolerance for any group or person who would hinder our democratic process.”
Holloway hopes something will be done to bring the truth about the incident to light.
"They never called me to ask me what happened. And that’s what bothers me. They should not go unchecked. Somebody should say this is wrong," Holloway said.
State police told NBC Connecticut the incident is under review.
"We hold our troopers to the highest standards of conduct. Immediately upon hearing of Rev. Holloway’s experience, State Police leadership referred the matter to Professional Standards which has generated a Complaint # and is actively gathering information so as to thoroughly and expeditiously address this matter in its entirety, and in accordance with agency policy," a department spokesperson said in a statement.
State Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano has called on the state police to apologize.
"Once he recognized that this was in fact a campaign and a candidate, that should’ve been the end of the interaction," Romano said.
"I’m not going to project in terms of what the motivation of the officer was. But I have to tell you any way how you look at it, it doesn’t look good," he added.