Committee Demands Stop-and-Frisk Plan
18 months after court settlement, Judiciary committee wants Fire & Police Commission plan with specific timelines.
More than 18 months after settling the ACLU’s stop-and-frisk lawsuit, City of Milwaukee officials are pushing to develop a real plan with a real timeline for implementing the changes it agreed to make in training, policing, and data collection.
“The city as a matter of social responsibility and social justice needs to demonstrate a sense of urgency and more substantial progress,” Ald. Tony Zielinski said during a meeting of the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee last week.
The committee unanimously recommended the full council approve Zielinski’s proposal that the Fire and Police Commission be required to present a plan next month with specific action steps and timelines for implementing the settlement.
“Nobody, even us, would say ‘month one you gotta be out there doing everything perfectly,'” she said. “But it’s been over a year and a half.”
Noncompliance, she said, “is not just a little bit of a mistake or minor problems, and it does raise concerns for us about the entire process and how that is done.”
The consultant’s report, despite limited conclusions that can be drawn from it, “shows some racial targeting – people of color are more likely to be frisked, but less likely to be found with contraband than white people…which also raises some really serious concerns for us,” Rotker said.
The July, 2018 settlement requires the Police Department to collect detailed information about each stop, but has failed to do so, she said.
“Doing data collection right is so critical because so much of the settlement depends on that, right?” she said. “You need the data to figure out what is going on on the streets, whether people are being properly stopped or not, whether all stops are being reported, which is also a concern.”
Rotker also said the city was supposed to publish, twice yearly, a community status policing report.
“As far as I know, there has not been one yet,” she said.
The ACLU of Wisconsin, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Covington & Burling law firm, brought the class action, stop-and frisk lawsuit on behalf of African-American and Latinx residents who challenged the constitutionality of MPD’s traffic and pedestrian stops and alleged they were racially biased.
The city denied wrongdoing but agreed to alter several practices.
“What we really want is to see a sense of collaboration and a sense of urgency….We want to see someone pick up the ball and run with it a little more quickly,” Rotker told the committee. “And we are concerned when we seem to be having the same conversations over and over again.”
Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.
- Police Haven’t Ended Stop and Frisks - Isiah Holmes - May 4th, 2021
- City Hall: Mixed Results on ACLU Settlement Compliance - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 26th, 2020
- City Hall: Committee Demands Stop-and-Frisk Plan - Gretchen Schuldt - Mar 2nd, 2020
- Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement regarding the ACLU lawsuit report: - Mayor Tom Barrett - Feb 20th, 2020
- 38% of Police Stops Not Fully Documented - Alana Watson - Feb 19th, 2020
- Morales Blames ACLU Suit for Traffic Ticket Drop - Gretchen Schuldt - Nov 18th, 2019
- City Hall: MPD Complying With ACLU Settlement - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 5th, 2019
- ACLU Attempts to End Stop-And-Frisk Policing - Edgar Mendez - Oct 18th, 2018
- Court Watch: 16 Court Reforms of Police Department - Gretchen Schuldt - Aug 14th, 2018
- Will Settlement Change Police Practices? - Andrea Waxman - Jul 25th, 2018
Read more about Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuit here