A coalition of Milwaukee residents has presented the U.S. Attorney’s office with hundreds of pages of documentation they say proves Milwaukee police have violated citizens’ rights through using excessive force, engaging in racial profiling, and generating misconduct complaints that have cost taxpayers more than $14 million over the past 10 years, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The coalition gathered the materials after federal officials announced they were seeking public input into whether to conduct a “pattern and practice” investigation into the police department.
Such an investigation would examine whether the department tolerates illegal or abusive behavior by officers and whether the department failed to prevent or address that type of conduct. Such an inquiry could result in federal oversight of the department. Advocates and civil rights attorneys have said for years that such an investigation is needed. In September, after questions about the death of Derek Williams in police custody came to light, federal officials announced they were considering it. “We’ve got a problem,” coalition member Harriet Callier said. “We’re paying with our lives. We’re paying with the loss of quality of life in our communities. We’re paying with fear and intimidation.”