Milwaukee Police Dept Covered Nametags at Protest

Monday, April 4, 2016

Statement from Chris Ahmuty, ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director:

Today, the ACLU of Wisconsin expressed concern that once again the Milwaukee Police are covering up their name tags for no good reason, contrary to department policy, and hindering any efforts at increased transparency in the process.  This kind of behavior will do nothing but draw even clearer lines of division between the MPD and the community it purports to serve.

As evidenced by Sunday’s police show of force at UW-Milwaukee, individual police officers and the major incident response team (MIRT) too often cover up their name tags while deployed in public.  This is a flagrant violation of an MPD policy that is already weak and rarely enforced.

When Milwaukeeans are peacefully exercising their rights to free speech and assembly, the MPD should do everything in its power to refrain from intimidating members of the public from expressing themselves.  By covering up their nametags, the officers communicated an implicit threat that they may engage in practices for which they do not want to be held accountable.

The ACLU of Wisconsin urges the MPD to better train and supervise its officers, including those assigned to demonstrations protected by the First Amendment, to maintain transparency and avoid sending harmful messages to the public.