Concerned African-American Mothers (CAAM)
African-American Racial Profiling Complaint Against
the City of Milwaukee Police Department
Under the direction of Police Chief Edward Flynn, the City of Milwaukee Police Department from approximately July 2008 to the present has engaged in practice of racial profiling African-Americans, especially African-American male drivers and pedestrians in targeted African-American communities.
- For approximately two (2) years we have observed on any major street in the African-American community African-American drivers, especially males pulled over for traffic stops. We have also observed when there are 2 or more African-American males in the vehicles, the driver and all passengers are removed from the car and required to sit on the curb, while the vehicle is searched; most of the time the African-American male driver and his male passengers are not detained or arrested because they have done nothing more than “drive while black”.
- Brenda Bell-White, Concerned African-American Mother, has complained about the racial profiling for approximately two (2) years to Alderman Bauman via e-mails, as well as an e-mail to the Mayor, Tom Barrett.
- More recently Ms. Bell-White complained and briefly discussed her concerns with other African-American politicians.
- During this same time, African-American male pedestrians continue to be victims of racial profiling for no other reason than “walking while black”. One of the more recent incidents involved Mrs. Portia Whipps’ 15 year old son, Christopher Whipps, a victim of “Walking while Black”. The Whipp’s live on 78th and Beckett, on 4/16/10, at 77th and Ruby Streets, Christopher was stopped, questioned, detained and handcuffed for no reason, while walking home from a bible study class by Officer Goggins and his partner. The officer stated there had been a burglary in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this was Christopher’s first encounter with the police and it was extremely negative resulting with his becoming quite traumatized for several weeks. Mr. and Mrs. Whipps filed a complaint with the staff sergeant, but the sergeant defended the officer’s actions and it went no further.
- In mid 2008, Randy R. Jones, Jr. 17 year old lives on 78th and Ruby Streets, while jogging in his neighborhood; he was stopped by the same Officer (Officer Goggins and his partner) that stopped Christopher. Randy was stopped, detained, handcuffed and slammed down on the hood of the police car he was told that there had been a robbery in the neighborhood, but did not tell not tell Randy if he fit the description of the robber. Randy was questioned and released at the site. Yulonea and Kwami Barnes, Randy parents filed a complaint at the 7th District Police District; the complaint did not go any further. Mr. Barnes insisted that the police apologize to Randy. This was Randy’s first encounter with the police, he was traumatized for months.
- In March 2010 on 91st and Lisbon Streets, Delores and Anthony McGaughy, Sr.’s sons Anthony McGaughy Jr. (21 years old), Adrian McGaughy (19 years old) and their friend T.J. (16 years old) were returning from Sentry Food Store on 92nd and Lisbon, while parking Mr. McGaughy’s car in the garage the MPD squad drove up, put their lights on and told the young men/boy to get out of the car. Anthony Jr., asked the officers what was going on, the officers told him to “shut up we’re talking to you”; the officers told Anthony Jr., that the plates don’t match the car registration, Anthony Jr., told the officers that could not be correct as his dad had just recently got the plates a few months prior. The officers told Anthony Jr., “shut-up ass hole” and placed him in their squad car. During this time Adrian McGaughy went into the house and told his parents that the police were in the alley questioning Anthony Jr. Mrs. McGaughy called for her husband and went outside, while running toward the ally she called Anthony Jr.’s name several times, she states the police looked at her and sped away with Anthony in the squad car. Anthony was with the police for approximately 5 minutes his parents did not know where the police had taken him. Anthony states that the police badgered him during this time i.e., the officers cursed at him, called him a “fat ass nigger”, lazy, asked him “why is your dumb-ass still living with your parents”, and why he wasn’t in school. The police pulled in front of the McGaughy’s home Mr. McGaughy approached the squad, the officers told him to “back-off we’re talking to you son”. Anthony Jr., states that when his father was approaching the squad one officer stated to the other “what does this fat fuck want”? Anthony Jr., states the police never asked him his name, for his driver’s license, nor did they write any information in their log books. Anthony Jr., was allowed to leave the squad after about 10 minutes; the officers told him “you seem like a good kid, get your shit together”, then they left. The McGaughy’s never had an opportunity to ask the officers for their name and badge number as they were not allowed to approach the car. When Anthony Jr., was in the house he was outraged, embarrassed and traumatized, he told his parents “this is why I don’t like the police, you tell me to respect the law and look at what they did to me about nothing”. Anthony remains traumatized and afraid of the police. Mr. McGaughy called DMV the next morning and verified that his plates and vehicle registration did indeed match.
- In the Spring of 2009, at 76th and Bobolink Streets, Anthony McGaughy Jr. (20 years old), Adrian McGaughy (18 years old) and several of their friends, Travonta Champion (15 years old) Javonta Champion (17 years old), Darnell Gordon (18 years old) Tagon Johnson (18 years old), DeAngelo Cruise, and Julia Parker were standing in front of Darnell’s home looking at Anthony Jr.’s car that had been vandalized while the young men were in Darnell’s home. The boys/young men and lady saw the police squad pass by and then come back to Darnell’s home, they thought the officers were coming back regarding the vandalism to Anthony Jr.’s car (Anthony states they had not called the police yet, as they were assessing the damage). The officers got out of their squad and approached the boys/young men and lady and ordered them to lie on the ground face down (there was still snow on the ground and it was cold); all of the boys/young men and lady asked what was going on; they all laid on the ground; the officers ordered them to stay down and stated a neighbor called and said someone had a gun. Adrian McGaughy called his parents from his cell phone while face down on the ground and told them what was going on, his parents were returning from Racine, WI at the time, so Mrs. McGaughy called her sister Elizabeth Jackson and asked her to go to Darnell’s home. Ms. Jackson and one of her friends Esma Mitchell went to Darnell’s home; asked the officers what was going on; she told the officers that two of the boys/young men were her nephews. The officers ordered Ms. Jackson and Ms. Mitchell to get on the ground face down, the women again asked what was going on; they also told the officers that it was cold, the ground was wet and there was snow as well; they were still ordered to the ground, so they complied. Another squad car arrived after the women. Tagon Johnson said “fuck this, it’s cold and we haven’t done anything I’m not laying on this ground”, he started to get up, the officers pulled their guns on him and told him to stay down; Tagon stated “you’ll have to shoot me, because it’s cold”, the officers told him “if you move again we’ll shoot you”, Tagon complied and remained on the ground. The officers never frisked or checked the boys/young men or lady for a gun; never asked any of them for their names; never wrote anything in their log books. The entire incident lasted for approximately 20 – 30 minutes, the officers told everyone to get up and the officers left. The boys/young men and lady feel that the officers were just harassing them. Both of the incidents March 2010 and spring 2009 are troubling for driving or standing while black, but also the fact that the officers never asked for names, identification, nor did they write any information regarding these stops/encounters in their log books. Wisconsin has a law that requires law enforcement officers to document demographics (race, gender, age, along with other identity requirements) for all police stops; this information is to be reported to a central data bank by the police district. It appears MPD officers are by passing this requirement by insuring there is no record of some of their stops while they engage in racial profiling. This needs to be investigated and stopped immediately.
- On 11/2008, Mrs. Dafi Malik’s 16 year old daughter Attiyya Summerise was the victim of an attempted sexual assault. She was attacked by 3 men that took her into an alley; they had started touching her and attempted to unzip her pants when citizen intervened on her behalf. The Milwaukee Police went to Mrs. Malik’s residence in response to her call regarding the incident. The detectives took Attiyya and placed her in the back seat of their vehicle. The detectives told Mrs. Malik that this was protocol and that they would be taking her to where the incident happened in an effort to gain more information. Attiyya returned home traumatized as a result of the detectives constantly badgering her and making accusations that she was providing false information. Mrs. Malik contacted the detectives’ superior who defended his detectives stating most victims lie about sexual assaults. He assured Mrs. Malik that the incident would continue to be investigated and that he would send another set of detectives to follow up. Neither Mrs. Malik nor her daughter was contacted following the first interview. We doubt very seriously if white female teen agers are treated this way. It is inexcusable the way MPD treated this 16 year old African-American female victim. If this is indeed MPD’s protocol it needs to cease immediately. Black Victims of crime and especially attempted sexual assault should not be further traumatized and victimized by the police. This was Attiyya’s first encounter with the police.
- On 04/09/10, Ms. Becky Pawlak’s 11 year old son Logan Yusef Pawlak-White and Brenda Bell-White’s grandson was the victim of an assault and robbery of his cell phone. The police placed the 11 year old in the back of the squad car to interview him in “private”, even though an adult neighbor requested they not put him in the squad and offered their home for the private interview. Needless, to say the 11 year old child was traumatized.
We doubt very seriously if a white 11 year old victim would have been treated this way. Again, if this is MPD’s protocol it needs to cease
immediately. This was Logan Yusef’s first encounter with the police, it was traumatic.
- On 04/27/10 several Concerned African-American Mothers (CAAM) attended Alderman Robert Bauman’s Town Hall meeting, Chief Flynn was one of the guest speakers. CAAM read their prepared statement and asked one of their prepared questions (see attached) to Chief Flynn regarding racial profiling.
- Chief Flynn became angry; he was callous, disrespectful and dismissive; he attempted to explain and justify his policies based on crime statistics and that he is protecting black people who are crime victims. CAAM and others in the audience stuck to our position that none of this justifies racial profiling; several in the audience told the chief that “he did not answer Ms. Bell-White’s question and that she did not deserve the response and disrespect he exhibited toward her”.
- At one point the Chief stated he would not apologize for fighting and reducing crime; we advised the chief that no one is againstcrime reduction, but what does that have to do with targeting one group of people under the guise of traffic stops; we also advised Chief Flynn if they targeted other neighborhoods, they might find just as many traffic violations. We advised him that the department was violating the human and civil rights of African-Americans, which is illegal.
- The Chief can not explain away this blatant act of racial profiling and violation of human and civil rights, under the cloak of active traffic violations; the Chief stated “only 50% of the traffic violations are givenMPD citations, because we understand the neighborhoods we are dealing with” i.e., poverty, high unemployment”.
- The City of Milwaukee is also guilty in the violation of African-American’s human and civil rights as both the Mayor and Common Council haveallowed the police department to operate the racial profiling policy and practice.
- On 04/27/10, CAAM representative Ms. Bell-White sent Alderman Bauman and Alderman Wade an e-mail summarizing the occurrences of the Town Hall and attached the statement/question document given to the chief, advising the aldermen that the city was also responsible for allowing the racial profiling of African-Americans; further, that CAAM made a request for the city to correct and to stop the racial profiling that has been going on under Chief Flynn.
- On 4/28/10, CAAM representative Brenda Bell-White forwarded the e-mail she sent to Alderman Bauman and Wade to the Common Council President Willie Hines, requesting that the he advise CAAM how to file an official complaint with the city and more specifically with the Common Council.
- Neither Alderman Hines nor anyone on his staff responded to Ms. Bell-White direct;
- Alex Runner, staff person of Alderman Hines responded to Michelle Allison’s “Community Happenings” e-mail she sent Ms. Bell-White’s e-mail to the broader Milwaukee African-American community. Mr. Runner stated the following to Ms. Allison:
“As for the MPD “walking while Black” issue, this is a major concern to Pres. Hines, and he has spoken to MPD leadership. (We understand it also came up at one of Ald. Bauman’s recent community meetings, which Brenda Bell-White attended.) It’s important that any victims document what is happening and send a formal complaint to the Fire and Police Commission – we can help with that, if needed. The F&P Commission is the agency responsible for disciplining MPD officers and keeping MPD in line”.
African-Americans will not tolerate this violation of our human and civil rights! If the world can decry the State of Arizona’s blatant racial profiling law, certainly
Black people can say enough already! Black folks have been dealing with this for decades, really centuries.
Chief Flynn has blatantly disregarded the human and civil rights of African-American citizens in Milwaukee and he and the city are in violation of state and federal law.
We are requesting the following:
- That the racial profiling against African-Americans, especially African-American males cease immediately and that your agencies investigate these occurrences.
- That the practice of stopping, detaining, questioning and harassing African-Americans boys/young men with no record of the occurrence stops immediately.
- That the practice of placing African-American child crime victims in squad cars to question them without their parents and taking the child to the scene of the crime without their parents cease immediately.
- MPD’s traffic and pedestrian stop statistics for the period of 2008 – 2010 for the entire city; delineated by zip code and race; to be sent to the CAAM Coordinator Ms. Bell-White.
That Chief Flynn, future police chiefs and the city of Milwaukee are prohibited from implementing racist and discriminatory policies and practices against African-Americans in the future.
It’s important that any victims document what is happening and send a formal complaint to the Fire and Police Commission – we can help with that, if needed. The F&P Commission is the agency responsible for disciplining MPD officers and keeping MPD in line”.
You may contact Brenda Bell-White, CAAM Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org