MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative law firm has filed a lawsuit alleging Madison’s new civilian police oversight board has illegally reserved positions for members of certain races.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the action in federal court in Madison on Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The firm alleges that the board is using unconstitutional racial quotas to fill its slots.
The City Council created the 11-member board in September. At least six seats were reserved for Black people. The board also is required to have Asian, Latino and American Indian members. The board has been meeting since November.
WILL alleged in its lawsuit that conservative blogger Dave Blaska applied for a spot on the board but was rejected because he’s white.
“Racial quotas and classifications . . . are unconstitutional, offensive and repugnant to basic American values,” the lawsuit states. “The city of Madison has not identified a compelling government interest that would justify racial quotas.”
City attorney Mike Haas told the State Journal that communities of color have had more police contact and higher rates of incarceration than “anyone else in our society.”
“It’s about ensuring safe, far and humane policing for everyone (in) our community — a compelling governmental interest if ever there was one,” he said.