February 24th, 2011
Black and Latino Caucus Blasts Senate GOP
repeal of Traffic Stop Data Collection
Members from the State Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus released the following comments regarding yesterday’s Senate vote to repeal the Traffic Stop Data Collection Law:
“This is yet another appalling act of injustice that is distancing the people from their government. This bill pushes justice out of the reach of those who deserve equal treatment under the law. This is not what the people voted for in November” said Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee).
Collecting racial data at traffic stops gives law enforcement a tool to improve on their own practices. This data allows the agencies to identify problematic behaviors and correct them. To date, the Office of Justice Assistance has collected over 130,000 pieces of data regarding traffic stops since the law’s implementation on January 1st.
“It is foolish and irresponsible to stop the collection now that it has started. Wisconsin taxpayers have invested their money in this project, why should they give that up? We should at least get a year’s worth of data out of this investment. This is just plain common sense” stated Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee).
Rep. Robert Turner (D-Racine) noted that since Wisconsin has the highest rate of incarceration of African Americans in the country, this law would have provided strong correlating data to that statistic. “Wisconsin’s population is only 6% African American, and I believe this law is definitely needed to demonstrate the racial bias that exists here,” he said.
Other Assembly members of the caucus noted the rushed passage of this bill.
“Primary enforcement of seat belts would not have passed the legislature without the data collection provision” Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) said. I am very disappointed that the Senate has chosen to take up the repeal legislation without any input from the Senate Democrats.”
“The need to gather hard-core empirical evidence that would either substantiate or refute the practice of racial profiling in our state is crucial to ensuring the public‘s trust in its law enforcement. Repealing this law is another major step backwards for all the resident of this state” said Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee).
“I’m very disappointed that the Senate would take advantage of the tumultuous situation in our state and slip through this regressive legislation” Rep. Jocasta Zamarippa (D-Milwaukee) commented. Statistics are undeniable, racial profiling does exist in Wisconsin. Law enforcement should be transparent and accountable. Passing this bill only takes us backward.”