Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn blamed the private consultants hired by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama administration for creating a non-factual draft review of the Milwaukee Police Department system, practices and lack of policy initiatives for Community Oriented Policing.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 15, 2017
Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn during the Milwaukee Common Council Steering and Rules Committee (SRC) hearing
confirmed that the leaked U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) draft collaborative reform report review of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) operations and practices included multiple non-factual errors that weren’t corrected by the consultants of a private firm hired by the DOJ. Chief Flynn blamed the DOJ hired private consultant firm for the numerous errors in the DOJ draft, which excluded factual proof, but he didn’t named the firm. Apparently, the same consultant firm did reviews for other law enforcement agencies in the U.S. as well, according to MPD. The DOJ review of MPD began in November 2015 by request of Chief Flynn to participate in the DOJ Office of Community Orientated Policing Services (COPS) Collaborative Reform Initiative For Technical Assistance (CRI-TA) process under the Obama administration.
Members of the Milwaukee Common Council had requested the DOJ review to determine budget funding, but Chief Flynn denied the released of the review due to numerous inaccuracies and the DOJ’s request that the MPD preliminary report not be released.
After the Presidential election, Trump’s DOJ Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided not to move forward in the MPD review, which left the MPD stuck with the preliminary draft review. That MPD DOJ draft review was leaked.
Leslie C. Silletti, the Director of Planning for the MPD confirmed at the SRC hearing that MPD had corrected some parts of the review, but wasn’t complete. She also stated, that MPD agreed with 90% of the DOJ draft review recommendations for improvement.
The SRC members argued that in order to built trust between elected officials, the community and MPD, those reports that were corrected by MPD should also be released so everyone should have copies to evaluate what would be the next step in creating collaborative working initiatives by community stake holders and the MPD, in order to move forward in creating trust and projected changes within the MPD to better serve the Milwaukee community.
The SRC members, MPD and members of the community agreed to move forward in creating trust and accountability in the MPD. The SRC members agreed that Chief Flynn and MPD must create policies that would assure that MPD practices are consistant and that the Fire and Police Commission (F&PC) has access to citizen complaints filed at police district stations.
Testimony by the public included, Brian Verdin who indicated that the Milwaukee Common Council (MCC) should be focused in creating jobs to help eliminate crime in the Northside and the city. Darryl Morin from LULAC called for the MCC to adequately fund the F&PC so, it could get additional staff to help review citizen complaints and office space to interview citizens who had filed complaints involving MPD officers. Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milw.) was upfront and told the SRC members that most of what was reported in the DOJ draft review was consistent to the MPD practices that the Afro-American community had experienced and complained for years and that her teenage son was stopped, searched and questioned by police while carrying a turkey to a neighbors house, which Chief Flynn and the MPD have yet to apologize.
Vaun Mayes indicated that Chief Flynn should be replaced and cited instances of police wrong doings and the lack of accountability to discipline or terminate police officers.
Chief Flynn released a two page letter concerning the COPS and CRI-TA.
In February 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on a press release reported that, the ACLU of Wisconsin, and the law firm of Covington & Burling had filed a class-action lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee over its police department’s vast stop-and-frisk program. The ACLU claimed in the lawsuit that, the Milwaukee Police Department targets tens of thousands of people without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the legal requirement for a police stop, making the program unconstitutional, the lawsuit says. The department’s repeated violations of Milwaukeeans’ constitutional rights are driven by racial profiling, with preliminary data showing significant disparities between police stop rates for white people and for Black and Latino people.
In 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also found that Milwaukee police were seven times more likely to stop Black drivers than white drivers, and five times more likely to stop Hispanic drivers than white drivers. According to the ACLU’s preliminary analysis of records from a Milwaukee police database on stops, Black (non-Hispanic) people were the targets of 72 percent of stops from 2010 through 2012 when they made up 34 percent of the city’s population.
The department conducts far more stops and frisks in the parts of Milwaukee that are predominantly Black or Latino than in other areas, according to the ACLU lawsuit.
• U.S. DOJ preliminary draft 243 page report (PDF) that was leaked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August;
Collaborative Reform Initiative
Milwaukee Police Department
Assessment at link: http://bit.ly/2wzlpEB
• Milwaukee Police Department response to leaked DOJ draft recommendations;
MPD Collaborative Reform
Planning and Implementation Guide
November 2015 to present dated September 13, 2017 at link: http://bit.ly/2f3SZMI
Video of the Milwaukee Common Council Steering and Rules Committee hearing dated 9/14/2017 http://bit.ly/2h6xefO