Milwaukee woman withdraws racial complaint against the Greendale Police Department

Complainant accused officer of racial profiling
Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 10:20:27-04

A Milwaukee woman who said she was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Greendale has revoked her complaint.

Katherine Torres told us last week she was pulled over and the first question she was asked was about her citizenship.

On Tuesday, TODAY’S TMJ4 got an exclusive look at patrol vehicle dash-camera footage which shows the entirety of the traffic stop. Not once was she asked if she was a U.S. citizen as she claimed.

The Memorial Day traffic stop was in question after Torres claimed she was racially profiled.

"The first thing he asked me was are you a US citizen? Then he asked me for my Social Security (Number)," Torres said Friday.

She along with Voces de la Frontera held a news conference outside of Greendale police headquarters.

"I thought the first question they were supposed to ask is for your license and for your insurance card?" Torres said.

They stormed in to file a complaint for harassment. Four days later patrol footage shows a contradictory sequence of events. Greendale Police pulled Torres over for not having a front license plate. The officer noticed Torres was also not wearing a seatbelt. Video and audio from the stop shows the police sergeant then asking for her license, insurance, address, and Social Security Number.

The Greendale Police chief says asking for Social Security Numbers during traffic stops has been their policy since 2003. It allows municipal courts to collect on tickets that haven't been paid.

On Tuesday, Torres met with Greendale police where she refuted her complaint. The chief said she admitted the officer never questioned her citizenship or immigration status as alleged.  We tried to get her side after the meeting however she left through the back door and took off.

Voces De La Frontera, which accompanied Torres to the station to file the complaint last week, commented later in the day Tuesday that the video, “ no way disproves Ms. Torres' allegations that the police asked if she was a US citizen, and it proves they asked her for her Social Security number,” questioning what the group believes are inconsistencies in the video.

"On Thursday I accompanied Ms. Torres to a meeting with Greendale Chief of Police Robert Malasuk," said the group’s Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz in a statement. "Chief Malasuk refused to allow me to accompany Ms. Torres into the meeting, and in front of me he told her that if she did not withdraw the complaint he would file criminal charges against her. He intimidated her. It is ridiculous that the Greendale Police Department collect people's social security numbers for minor traffic infractions. Local law enforcement shouldn't be investigating immigration status and they definitely shouldn't be intimidating community members who are using the proper channels stand up for their rights."

The police chief said he does not plan on filing criminal charges for Torres’ false complaint.