Pastors accuse Waukesha deputies of racism; Sheriff: 'No evidence exists' race motivated actions

Posted at 10:36 AM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 11:36:49-04

Update: 11:41 a.m.

Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson responded to the accusations that his staff had racially-motivated intent with how they interacted with two Milwaukee pastors during a stop, saying there was no racially-motivated intent. The full statement from Sheriff Severson is below, along with full video of the pastors' statements Monday.

"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."

Original story: 10:36 a.m.

Watch below:

A pair of Milwaukee-area African-American pastors spoke Monday about what they say was racial profiling by a Waukesha Sheriff's deputy.

Rev. Demetrius Williams of Community Baptist and Rev. John Patterson of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist churches say that they were returning from a fishing trip when they had a flat tire. A Waukesha Sheriff's deputy came on scene after the pastors called insurance to have someone fix the tire.

As one of the pastors said during a news conference: "We were treated like criminals by the Waukesha Sheriff's Deputy," describing the interactions between the pastors and law enforcement.

WTMJ has reached out to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department for comment.