The city of Milwaukee agreed last week to pay a multi-million dollar settlement over a lawsuit that alleged that its police department had been targeting Black and Latinx residents with its aggressive stop-and-frisk policy.
The Milwaukee Common Council approved the settlement of $3.4 million, which will go to the six people who sued, according to NPR. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin represented the plaintiffs, who claimed they were stopped multiple times since 2010.
“The reforms are local, but the implications are national,” the ACLU said in a statement. “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.”
In the lawsuit, the ACLU found that Milwaukee police officers made more than 350,000 traffic and pedestrian stops from 2010 to 2017 for which they have no record explaining the probable cause for the interaction. The rate at which Black residents were detained for traffic or pedestrian stops was more than six times higher than Whites, according to the ACLU’s analysis.
Although the city did not admit wrongdoing, the settlement calls for the department to document every time they stop and frisk someone, explain the reason why, and collect demographic information on the stops. Officers will also be trained on racial profiling issues, and law enforcement will be subject to oversight from an independent consultant.
In a recent high-profile incident, Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown filed a federal lawsuit in June accusing Milwaukee police of unlawful arrest when officers used a stun gun on him over a parking violation.