Milwaukee has agreed to shell out a cool $3.4 million in order to settle a lawsuit which accuses its police department of unduly targeting black and Latinx residents for years through its stop-and-frisk policy.
The Milwaukee Common Council approved the settlement last week Tuesday, with Mayor Tom Barrett signing off on the agreement with the ACLU of Wisconsin on Friday.
“Ultimately we hope that these type of situations cease and desist,” Alderman Khalif Rainey said, according to the Associated Press.
The settlement will require more training for cops on stop and searches, as well as a reform of stop-and-frisk practices.
The settlement includes a five-year consent decree requiring the department and the city’s Fire and Police Commission, the civilian oversight board, to reform stop-and-search practices, improve data collection and require officers to undergo more training on stops and searches.
“For the last decade, tens of thousands of Black and Latino Milwaukeeans have been interrupted in their daily lives by police stopping them without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity as required by the Constitution,” the ACLU of Wisconsin said in a Friday news release.
The civil rights group sued Milwaukee’s police department last year on behalf of some half a dozen people who said they were stopped at least once since 2010. The ACLU uncovered that officers had stopped more than 350,000 motorists and pedestrians from 2010 to 2017, with no explanation of probable cause for the encounters, the AP notes.
On top of that, the organization’s analysis further revealed that black residents were detained for traffic or pedestrian stops more than six times the rate of their white counterparts.
Now, per the agreement, the department will be required to detail every time they stop and search someone and to explain why. Officers will also be required to collect demographic information on the stops.
The $3.4 million will be separated into $1.5 million for an independent consultant to monitor the department’s compliance with the terms of the settlement, while the other $1.9 million will be distributed across attorneys’ fees and the costs of litigation, including expert witnesses and depositions.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly detailed how $1.9 million of the settlement money was allocated.