July 15, 2018

Milwaukee agrees to major police stop and frisk reforms

ACLU - The city of Milwaukee has entered into a settlement agreement to end practices amounting to a decade-long stop-and-frisk program that resulted in hundreds of thousands of baseless stops as well as racial and ethnic profiling of Black and Latino people citywide. The agreement provides a roadmap for how the Milwaukee Police Department and Fire and Police Commission must reform to protect the constitutional rights of the people they serve.

The reforms are local, but the implications are national. This settlement sends a signal to police departments across the country about how to remedy stop-and-frisk practices that wrongfully criminalize people of color.

The settlement mandates reforms that are expansive and profound. It requires the overhaul of how police conduct and report stops and frisks in Milwaukee. The settlement also compels the city to take concrete steps to ensure that police stops and frisks are supervised and monitored and that officers who conduct unlawful encounters are counseled, retrained, or disciplined. And the city must sustain the Community Collaborative Committee, a group of community members who will meet regularly with Milwaukee police and the City’s Fire and Police Commission to provide input on policing strategies and their impact on the public.

Milwaukee now joins other cities that have embarked on stop-and-frisk reform, either as a result of litigation or in response to calls by communities of color for evidence-based policing. These include Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York, where community activism and multiple lawsuits have brought about significant reforms.

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