A police stop is when a police officer stops a person to investigate potential criminal activity. Sometimes, frisks or other searches come out of such stops. One would hope that police would only use such stops in a way that is respectful of people’s rights and which stays within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution. A recent class-action lawsuit alleges that police in Milwaukee have crossed the line when it comes to their use of police stops.
This lawsuit against the city was brought by the ACLU. Included among the accusations the lawsuit makes are that:
- The city’s police department carries out a stop-and-frisk program that is large in nature.
- This program has resulted in police stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion, and is thus unconstitutional.
- The program disproportionately targets minorities (specifically, black and Latino individuals).
The lawsuit outlines multiple incidents which it claims are examples of this alleged stop-and-frisk program at work in the city.
Among the things the lawsuit is seeking are reforms to police practices in the city.
The city’s police department, in response to the allegations, has said that it has never had a stop-and-frisk program.
One wonders what will happen with this lawsuit and what impacts it will have on police practices in Milwaukee and the surrounding region.
In addition to sometimes being the subject of civil litigation, how law enforcement acts when it comes to things such as police stops can also be a very big deal in criminal cases. When a police stop violates the constitutional rights of the suspect, the evidence stemming from it could be found inadmissible. The issue of whether a given police action was constitutional can be a complex one. Skilled defense attorneys can help individuals facing criminal charges in the wake of a police stop or other police action with looking into these types of issues.
Source: NPR, “Lawsuit Accuses Milwaukee Police Of Abusive Stop And Frisk Practices,” Cheryl Corley, Feb. 22, 2017