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Review: Police reports lack justification on frisk incidents

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A group monitoring a legal settlement over the Milwaukee Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices reports officers failed to document a justification in 80% of such incidents in the first half of 2019.

The Crime and Justice Institute found many of the officers’ report narratives lacked the details needed to establish reasonable suspicion that the people being frisked were armed or dangerous to others around them, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Boston-based institute is monitoring the police department’s compliance as part of a $3.4 million settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin in 2018 over stop-and-frisk practices.

The ACLU had argued in its lawsuit that in the past decade, tens of thousands of minority residents in Milwaukee have been stopped by police without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

The settlement directed the department to overhaul its stop-and-search policy and improve its data collection.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales said the issue officers are faced with in complying with the settlement doesn’t have to do with illegal stops and searches. It’s about record keeping.

The report released this week is concerned with more than 34,000 police encounters between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2019. The incidents involved include traffic stops, pedestrian stops and field interviews.

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