Let’s hover over his logic, to see how he slides into his conclusion: this all comes as a consequence of a study of that city’s police traffic stops, done by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. According to that study,
Milwaukee police pulled over Hispanic city motorists nearly five times as often as white drivers, according to the review, which took into account the number of licensed drivers by race.
Disturbing as this may sound, the fact that Latino drivers are pulled over more often than white drivers, in any U.S. city, is a surprise to no one. The average is about 2:1 Latino stops to white stops — think of it as an acceptable norm, which is why it’s disturbing. Now consider Milwaukee’s rate — 5:1. So when Milwaukee’s chief Flynn was asked about this trend, he
…acknowledged the department’s targeted crime-fighting approach can result in disparities because high-crime neighborhoods tend to have larger minority populations.
“I would say it’s not an unexpected consequence,” Flynn said. “If we are going to heavily engage with those communities that are both victimized and from whence a significant majority of our offenders come, we are going to generate disparities because of where we’re physically located.”
So “it’s not an unexpected consequence,” because, basically, that’s where the criminal are? If you take the chief’s rank and file officers’ actions into account, five out of six criminal suspects in Milwaukee are Latino. That’s roughly 83% — in real numbers — 495,000. The Latino population in Milwaukee is about 100,000.
So Milwaukee Latinos, the elderly and children included, are are about five times more suspect just because they are Latino? According to a Journal Sentinel report:
Black and Hispanic drivers were arrested at twice the rate of whites after getting stopped, which follows trends in other big cities, researchers said. Meanwhile, white drivers were issued traffic citations at a slightly lower rate than black or Hispanic drivers and were let off with written or oral warnings more often.
But if Latinos are stopped at a rate five times higher than whites, then the arrest rate — which, granted, equals that of other cities — is logically five times higher as well. In his defense, Chief Flynn says that his department’s “proactive patrolling approach” has driven-down the city’s crime rate. There has been a double-digit decline in violent crimes.
“Yes, of course we are going to stop lots of innocent people. The point is, do folks understand what their role is as a cooperative citizen in having a safe environment.” Flynn said.
If you’re a Latino in Milwaukee that means you’ll have to be five times more cooperative.
[Photo By Vincent Desjardins]