GOP Fights to Continue Huge Racial Disparities in Wisconsin

MADISON – The Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) is rallying against a plan to study and reduce racial profiling in Wisconsin, even as our state leads the nation in racial disparities. All four GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee voted to block a measure to require police departments to collect racial traffic-stop data and send it to the state for analysis.

When asked about racial profiling by a reporter, Republican Rep. Robin Vos said, "this is not a problem in much of Wisconsin." (Source: AP, 5.26.09)

“Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they support racial profiling, and don’t find racial disparities in our system to be problematic,” said Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Meanwhile, Democrats acknowledge that this is a problem and we are taking major steps to address the issue and reduce racial inequalities in our state.”

Nearly half of inmates in Wisconsin’s prisons are African-American, yet Blacks represent just six percent of Wisconsin’s population. Racial disparities permeate the entire criminal justice continuum in the number of arrests, cases charged, sentences, and probation and parole revocations. (Source: Wisconsin OJA, http://oja.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=1344&locid=97)

In opposing the new steps to reduce racial profiling, Republicans again regurgitated their same tired, re-hashed talking points, arguing that it would cost taxpayers too much money and decrease public safety.

However, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) already supports the Democratic measure, and believes that the state should do everything it can to properly implement the plan. If signed into law, the measure will also allow Wisconsin to receive additional federal stimulus funds. (Source: WRN, 5.27.09)

”While Democrats are working to end racial inequalities and provide more opportunities for minorities to succeed, Republicans are fighting to protect the status quo and continue the huge racial gaps in our system,” said Wineke.

The Democratic proposal, designed to curb racial profiling, would take effect in 2011. The WPPA has said that law enforcement will have ample time to give input to legislators on the most efficient way to enact the program.