Criminologist Sam Walker of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, says comments he made in a May 22 Journal Sentinel story about assault cases being misreported in Milwaukee are being misrepresented in an ad by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign. Walker faces a recall election this week. The story said more than 500 incidents since 2009 were misreported to the FBI by the Milwaukee Police Department. The assaults were labeled minor assaults and were not included in the city’s violent crime rate.
In the story, Sam Walker commented about Milwaukee police procedures: “That clearly indicates a systemic problem in the department – there has to be a failure of leadership. If (police) do it in one or two cases, it’s not a big deal. If they do it in a large number of cases, it’s suspicious and probably improper. It’s something that needs to be corrected immediately.” In the Scott Walker ad, Sam Walker”s words made it seem that he was saying that Mayor Tom Barrett, Gov. Walker’s opponent, is responsible for the miscoded assault cases. “I was referring to the police department and some people higher up,” Sam Walker said. “Mayors don’t understand. They accept whatever crime statistics the police hand them.”