WILL threatens lawsuit over racial quotas for Madison’s Police Civilian Oversight Board

The firm calls the quotas unconstitutional.
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:51 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 2:32 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A conservative law firm is threatening to sue the City of Madison over the racial quotas imposed on the city’s recently formed Police Civilian Oversight Board.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) plans to file a notice of claim arguing the city council’s requirement that members of the board belong to certain racial groups violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on racial discrimination.

The ordinance creating the board required at least one member who is African American, Asian, Latin American, Native American, and a member of the LBGTQ community. WILL also stated a recommendation by the council’s Alder Workgroup that at least half of the 11-member board be Black, adopted after the resolution passed, was also unconstitutional.

“Neither the City, the Mayor, nor the Common Council has identified any compelling governmental interests that would justify discriminating against Board applicants and members based on their race,” it stated.

WILL argued that it had not heard any explanation by council members as to why the board could not fulfill its function without setting such demands.

By filing its notice Wednesday, WILL says the city has 120 days to respond before it can file a lawsuit.

City of Madison Attorney Michael Haas confirmed to NBC15 News that the city has received the notice, adding they will process it as directed by state and local law.

He went on to defend the quotas, saying they help ensure a broad and diverse representation of the Madison community.

“The Common Council expressed its interest in encouraging participation on the Board from those who have experienced, or who have worked with communities that have experienced, interactions with law enforcement,” he continued.

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