MILWAUKEE - The ACLU of Wisconsin joined several other organizations and individuals from the Milwaukee area in sending a letter to the Milwaukee Common Council, mayor, and Fire and Police Commission Members, demanding that the next Milwaukee Chief of Police eliminate racism and bias in policing and laying out other criteria that should be required of candidates being considered for the position.

The next police chief must establish higher standards for police accountability and transparency, commit to demilitarization and de-escelation — including a prohibition on tear gas — eliminate systemic racism and bias, and end discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, which continue to harm Black and Brown Milwaukee residents despite a 2018 settlement agreement.

“We’ve reached a critical time in Milwaukee as the next leader of the Milwaukee Police Department is chosen. Our next police chief needs to be a person who will not only address the systemic racism in Milwaukee policing, but be transparent and accountable going forward, and rebuild police and community relationships in Milwaukee.

Not only should the community and its needs be a top priority for the next police chief, the community’s input should be heavily considered throughout the entire process,” said Tomás Clasen, community engagement manager of the ACLU of Wisconsin. 

The letter was signed by the ACLU of Wisconsin, as well as Black Leaders Organizing For Communities (BLOC); Black Lives Matter to Unitarian Universalists; Coalition for Justice, Dontre Hamilton’s mother, Maria Hamilton; Friendship Missionary Baptist Church; The League of Women Voters Wisconsin Chapter; Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH); Milwaukee Turners; NAACP Milwaukee Branch; National Lawyers Guild,  Milwaukee Chapter; Progressive Baptist Church; Wisconsin Justice Initiative; Pastor Walter Lanier; Reverend Joseph H. Jackson, Jr.; and Sr. Rose Stietz, OP.