NewsLocal News


Two Milwaukee pastors allege racial profiling by Waukesha deputy

Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 22:25:14-04

Two Milwaukee pastors claim they were racially profiled by a Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy.

The pastors say the incident happened on I-94 East when they were coming back from a fishing trip.

Pastors Demetrius Williams of Community Baptist Church and John Patterson of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church say the encounter happened on May 1st.

"I was deeply troubled because I felt and still feel profoundly now that an injustice and discriminatory practice was taken place all under the guides of standard policy," Williams said.

While disabled on the highway because of a flat tire, they allege a deputy showed up asking if they had any guns or drugs in the vehicle, not even offering help.

“I don't think that's a standard policy," Williams said.

They also say the same deputy asked for both of their driver's licenses. 

"I can understand him asking me for my license but it wasn't a moving violation," Patterson said.

The faith leaders are delivering a letter to Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson asking for a dialogue on standard operating procedures for similar cases.

Eric Severson responded with a statement:

“Racially biased policing is prohibited in the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office. Racially biased policing is not trained, condoned or tolerated.  Citizen complaints of racial profiling allegations are readily taken and are investigated consistent with existing policy and state law. We have a comprehensive complaint process which we follow to insure that policies are followed and citizen services are provided at a high level.  

Because of my commitment to that process I have taken steps to investigate a motorist assist incident that was identified by Common Ground.  No violations of policy, training or procedure have been uncovered during this investigation.  I have reasonably concluded that no evidence exists that actions taken by deputies were motivated by race.  No detention, arrest, use of force, or other unprofessional conduct has been identified.  

Copies of the correspondence between Common Ground and my office, copies of our policies relating to non-biased policing and our complaint process along with the full investigative report of this matter are available for inspection consistent with Wisconsin Public records law.  Common Ground was provided with all of this information prior to their demonstration today”

Even with this response from Sheriff Severson, the pastors say they have no plans of filing a complaint.