Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin State Legislature “to reclassify false police reports on any member of a minority group as a hate crime, mirroring legislation that’s been introduced in the state of New York.”

“People with hate in their hearts who call the police to harass minorities don’t deserve cute internet nicknames—they deserve significant fines and time in jail,” Roland says in a press release (referencing “Karens” and the like). “For every George Floyd, there are probably 10,000 Christian Coopers and Isiah Holmes. Let’s pair police reform with community conversations about the right and wrong times to call the police.”

Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Joseph Czarnezki, Felesia Martin, and Liz Sumner are co-sponsors of the resolution.

The supervisors are also calling on counties, cities, and police departments to take additional steps toward racial equality, including:

• Work together with neighborhood watch groups to develop educational campaigns to clarify what suspicious behavior is and is not.

• Implement a credible approach to track and demographically-desegregate police response data, and annually create measurable goals relating to reduce “living while Black” police responses.

• Implement police dispatcher reform to end harmful “living while Black” police responses.

Here’s the full press release:

County Board Proposal Urges Governor and Legislature to Make Racist 911 Calls a Hate Crime
Supervisor Rolland also calls for national neighborhood watch and police dispatcher reform to reduce “living while Black” police responses

MILWAUKEE – As part of Milwaukee County’s ongoing work to achieve racial equity, Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland is introducing a resolution calling on Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin State Legislature to reclassify false police reports on any member of a minority group as a hate crime, mirroring legislation that’s been introduced in the state of New York. The resolution is co-sponsored by Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Joseph Czarnezki, Felesia Martin and Liz Sumner.

“People with hate in their hearts who call the police to harass minorities don’t deserve cute internet nicknames—they deserve significant fines and time in jail,” said Supervisor Shawn Roland. “For every George Floyd, there are probably 10,000 Christian Coopers and Isiah Holmes. Let’s pair police reform with community conversations about the right and wrong times to call the police.”

Supervisor Rolland’s resolution also calls on counties, cities and police departments to take three additional actions:

Work together with neighborhood watch groups to develop educational campaigns to clarify what suspicious behavior is and is not.

“We need communities to launch an unprecedented community outreach campaign to end this collision course between police and innocent members of minority groups,” said Supervisor Rolland. “It’s clear that some citizens are calling the police when they shouldn’t be. These calls to police harm our neighbors, divide our community, create unrest in our streets, and take our law enforcement officers away from their core role—protecting and serving our community”

Implement a credible approach to track and demographically-desegregate police response data, and annually create measurable goals relating to reduce “living while Black” police responses.

“Organizations care about the things that they measure,” said Supervisor Rolland. “If our police departments measured ‘living while Black’ police responses and set clear annual goals to reduce them, I’m certain that they would be successful.”

Implement police dispatcher reform to end harmful “living while Black” police responses.

“Dispatchers should be empowered to determine when to authorize a police response due to reported suspicious behavior and when to deny a police response based on racial bias alone,” said Supervisor Rolland.

Amy Cooper made national headlines last month after she called New York City police to report “an African-American man threatening my life” in retaliation over birdwatcher Christian Cooper’s ask for her to follow the law and put her dog on a leash while walking in Central Park.

One year earlier, Wauwatosa East High School graduate Isiah Holmes testified in front of the City of Wauwatosa’s Government Affairs Committee, sharing his frustration about being stopped by local police 23 times in just one summer while innocently walking down North Avenue. “I felt hunted,” Holmes said. In a letter dated June 6, 2020, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber stated that, “Police officers do not choose which service calls they respond to.”

In 2018, CNN reported that police were called on African Americans for mundane activities like operating a lemonade stand, moving into an apartment, shopping while pregnant and more.

On the Milwaukee County Board, Supervisor Rolland represents District 6-with neighborhoods in Wauwatosa, West Allis and Milwaukee’s west side.

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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