Residents who believe Milwaukee Police officers have violated their rights have an outlet for their concerns starting this week, with the announcement by U.S. Attorney James Santelle that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has set up a toll-free tip line and email address. The information gathered through these sources will be used to help determine whether Mr. Santelle and the Civil Rights Division should conduct a formal “pattern and practice” investigation of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Anyone interested in providing information can contact the Department of Justice by calling 1-855-544-5132 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The recorded phone message is in both English and Spanish.
Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. and Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs are urging all residents who believe they have witnessed a police abuse of power or have had their rights violated to contact the USDOJ. They also applauded Mr. Santelle and thanked him for his quick response to their concerns.
“The vital information the Civil Rights Division is collecting could end up forming the groundwork for a formal ‘pattern and practice’ investigation of the Milwaukee Police Department,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “In light of recent events, such an investigation could provide much-needed transparency and justice for those who have been wronged.”
“We have said repeatedly that structural change, an administrative paradigm shift, is what’s needed in the Milwaukee Police Department,” Alderman Hines said. “A formal ‘pattern and practice’ investigation and accompanying legal case could be the vehicle for those crucial changes to make MPD more accountable and responsive to citizens’ needs.”