By Evan Casey
A new report from the ACLU of Wisconsin found that the Milwaukee Police Department’s stop and frisk policy is often times impacted by the race of an individual. The report, based on the analysis from the lawsuit titled Collins v. City of Milwaukee, said that nearly 50 percent of traffic and pedestrian stops were not legally justified.
Analysis provided by law and police experts David Abrams PH.D, and Margo Frasier were given in the report. Frasier found that Milwaukee police officers are not required to document why they performed a frisk in a particular situation. Abrams found that Black and Latino citizens are more likely than white people to be stopped and frisked by police than white citizens in areas where the population is predominantly white.
“In every district, Black and Latino drivers were subject to a substantially higher rate of traffic stops than white drivers from 2011 to 2015,” David Abrams’s Expert Report said.
The report also says that from 2007 to 2015, traffic and pedestrian stops rose from around 66,000 per year to 196,000. Stops that are made without a “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is dangerous are in violation of the fourth amendment, while stops that are motivated by race or ethnicity are in violation of the 14th amendment.
Wisconsin Senator Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said that this report was evidence of the Department’s poor policies, as evidenced by the recent DOJ Draft Report that was leaked last August.
“As a person who has lived here, we already knew this,” said Taylor, “even without a report.”
Nate Gilliam, Lead Organizer with the People’s Progressive Organizing Committee of Milwaukee, a community action organization, says that more police officers won’t solve the issue of crime in a community.
“I’m a person that thinks that police interaction should be very minimal,” said Gilliam. “I don’t tie public safety to the police.”
Fred Royal, the President of the Milwaukee branch of NAACP, says that there needs to be a new strategy in place regarding stop and frisk, in which officers develop relationships with different communities.
“We need the police officer to see that this isn’t a person who is potentially a criminal, “ said Royal.
Taylor expressed concern about stop and frisk’s after her own son was detained by Milwaukee Police after simply delivering a turkey to a neighbor years ago.
“It was a traumatic experience and it created challenges for my son,” Taylor said. “I can only imagine the traumas that other individuals in Milwaukee have to deal with.”
The Milwaukee Police Department declined to comment on this story because of ongoing litigation.