Stop MPD Racial Profiling, Sexual Assault, In-Humane Treatment, Excessive Force, Deaths in Custody, the Killing of Unarmed Black Boys & Men

Monday, August 18, 2014, Brenda Bell-White writes:

Dear Mayor Barrett and all City of Milwaukee Common Council Members:
This is yet another appeal requesting that you change the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) policies, procedures and practices that create, encourage and reinforce the negative attitudes and treatment of black and brown people.  Additional training is not the answer. MPD’s policies, procedures and practices are the root cause of disparate and inhumane treatment of black and brown boys, men and all people.  Coupled with the other contributing factor for the indifference and inhumane treatment of black and brown people is this fact: MPD’s police chief makes public disparaging comments and commentary regarding black and brown people and the community.  MPD’s officers take their cues from the chief; he has no respect for the black and brown community, hence his police force does not.
As you know, there are 62 sexual assault lawsuits filed against MPD and the City of Milwaukee; all of the victims are black men except 1; all of these assaults were first racial profiling “traffic stop initiatives” stops.  As you also know from the findings of the Journal Sentinel’s 2011 study, black and brown people are disproportionately stopped more than other groups.  The number of deaths in custody, killings of unarmed black boys and men all substantiate the need for a major change in policies, procedures and practices!

I and others in the African-American community are asking for the following:
1) Stop the MPD chief from making public disparaging comments and commentary about black and brown suspects and the black and brown community!

2) Stop the harsh, rude and disrespectful speech by the chief and officers when dealing with brown and especially black boys, men and people;

3) Stop the racial profiling aka Traffic Stop Initiative immediately!

4) Stop the policy, procedures and (assumptions) that black and brown people are guilty until proven innocent. Stop:

a) making black and brown people sit on the curbs while background checks are made;
b) whites are not made to sit on the curbs during background checks; they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

5) Require all police officers to wear cameras attached to their chest, the same as the radio attached to their collar: 

a) In the city of Rialto, California, the number of complaints filed against police officers fell by 88 percent and “use of force” fell by 59 percent after and within one year’s usage of such cameras.

6) Implement a policy that officers that kill unarmed black boys and men (all people) are arrested immediately and detained until proven innocent; this is the best practice to change negative systemic behavior;

a) police must be held accountable for killing black boys and men. 
I don’t care if black boys and men are college bound, don’t have a record, are thugs, mentally ill, actively involved in the commission of a crime - the police view them all the same - as thugs, unworthy, different than white folks, etc. it is obvious that black life - any black life — is not valued by the police.  You can’t train police to value black life, to treat our boys and men as they treat their own, hence legislation, accountability and strong penalties including the immediate arrest of police officers that kill unarmed black boys & men is a necessary requirement!

The African-American community (all activists for justice) in Milwaukee and the nation are tired of our unarmed boys and men being killed by white police, security guards and vigilantes.  The police are paid to protect them - not to kill them!  

Corey Stingley, Dontre D. Hamilton, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Eric Garner were all unarmed and killed by police, security guard or vigilantes!  The killing of unarmed black boys and men has been and continues to be an epidemic in Milwaukee and the country!  
It is your responsibility to protect all of the citizens of Milwaukee, (but) your police department is committing criminal acts, i.e., racial profiling, sexual assault, etc.; your police department mistreats black citizens via harsh language and inhumane treatment (made to sit on the curbs during stops, etc.).  Please change MPD’s policies, procedures and practices!

Ed. Note: You can help fight institutionalized racism – please send similar letters to Milwaukee’s mayor and common council.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on August 18, 2014

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