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Report: 8 out of 10 MPD 'stop and frisks' are not justified

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:10:40-05

MILWAUKEE — A new report shows 8 out of 10 frisks are not justified.

It's just one of the findings in a report released Tuesday after Milwaukee Police were sued over allegations of unjustified stops and frisks.

"If you look at the numbers, we continue to have a situation where black and LatinX people are being frisked," said Karyn Rotker, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin.

The ACLU said they want changed behavior from Milwaukee Police when it comes to stops and encounters. To ensure that change happened, MPD agreed to biannual reports done by the Crime and Justice Institute, or CJI.

The second report was released Tuesday.

"A lot of the success of the agreement will be based on collecting good data," Rotker said. "You can't fully analyze what's happening if you don't have good data to do it."

CJI examined data from the first half of 2019.

The report showed MPD improved in writing reports to justify their field interviews but is behind in other areas.

Per the CJI report's findings in February 2020:

  • The officer-written narratives regarding the justification for field interviews documented in RMS are far more complete than found in analysis before the Settlement Agreement.
  • The Department does not meet the Settlement Agreement requirements that fewer than 15 percent of traffic stops, field interviews, and no-action encounters fail to show individualized, objective, and articulate reasonable suspicion to support the stop.
  • The Department does not meet the Settlement Agreement requirement that fewer than 15 percent of frisks fail to show individualized, objective, and articulable reasonable suspicion that the subject is armed and dangerous.
  • Officers are not documenting every frisk.
  • Most of the contraband seized during frisk encounters is obtained during frisks that were insufficiently justified
  • The contraband hit rate varies by race and is lowest for black subjects.

Milwaukee Police leaders met with members of the media Tuesday. Cameras weren't allowed inside. Chief Morales pointed out they had time before they had to fully come into compliance with the settlement agreement.

"When you're making organizational changes, it's not going to happen overnight," Morales said. "We have deadlines along the way."

The next CJI update will come mid-2020.

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