City cancels racist policy for police oversight board

(Image courtesy Unsplash)
(Image courtesy Unsplash)

The city of Madison, Wisconsin, has amended an ordinance that previously called for racial quotas on its Police Civilian Oversight Board, because such racial discrimination is unconstitutional, according to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

“We should never stand idly by while our elected officials engage in blatant race discrimination, as Madison did in this case,” explained Dan Lennington, a deputy counsel for the institute.

“Although we are pleased they have removed their racial quota, WILL remains ready and willing to challenge race discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head.’

The decision by the Madison Common Council was in response to a lawsuit from WILL that challenged the racial quotas that had been adopted for the board “as a clear violation of the Constitution’s ban on racial discrimination.”

The institute was acting on behalf of Madison resident David Blaska, who applied for a position on the board but was ineligible for nine of the 11 seats – solely because of his race.

It was during the pandemic, in September of 2020, the city adopted a rule that demanded certain members of the board had to belong to the racial groups, “African American, Asian, Latinx and Native American.”

It also demand a board of “at least 50% black members.”

WILL reported that such racial quotas and classifications “enshrined in this city law and the official policy of the city, are unconstitutional, offensive, and repugnant to basic American values.”

The city had not even identified any “compelling government interest” that would support such racism, the institute said.

WILL filed a Notice of Claim in January 2021, warning the city that the racial quotas in the Police Civilian Oversight Board are unconstitutional and would result in a lawsuit without a policy change.

When the city took no action, WILL filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Wisconsin against the city of Madison in June 2021.

The institute said it is looking forward to settling the dispute, “now that Madison has amended the ordinance.”

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