The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee and its police chief over the department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which the civil liberties group says has been used to unfairly target black and Latino residents.
In the suit filed on Wednesday, the ACLU claims that since 2010 the police department has “engaged in an unlawful policy, practice, and custom of conducting a high-volume, suspicionless stop-and-frisk program” that allowed officers to stop people without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The policy has “created and deepened public fear of and alienation from” the police department, the suit states.
“Black and Latino people throughout Milwaukee — including children — fear that they may be stopped, frisked, or otherwise treated like criminal suspects when doing nothing more than walking to a friend’s house or home from school, driving to and from the homes of loved ones, running errands, or simply taking a leisurely walk or drive through the city,” the suit says.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn reacted sternly to the suit Wednesday, telling reporters, “There’s no more serious allegation in 21st century America than to be accused of racist orbiased behavior. So I’m going to take this opportunity to categorically and unequivocally reject the base of the assertions made by the ACLU in their lawsuit. “We’ve gotta get beyond the fingerpointing that does nothing except depolice at-risk communities. that’s not anybody’s goal. There’s a better way to do that than lawsuits,” Flynn added.