MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn's reaction to an 80-page ACLU lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee came swiftly and firmly on Wednesday, February 22nd. While not getting into the specifics of the lawsuit, Flynn made it clear he sees this issue differently.
The lawsuit claims the Milwaukee Police Department uses unconstitutional "stop and frisk" policies. It names six plaintiffs who say they were stopped because of their race -- one a veteran and long-time Milwaukee resident, and another -- a Milwaukee mother whose son has been repeatedly stopped by police.
"This lawsuit is a culmination of a nearly three-year investigation conducted by the ACLU national office and the ACLU of Wisconsin," Jason Williamson, ACLU attorney said.
Chief Flynn on Wednesday afternoon defended his officers, and stood behind his department.
"There's no more serious allegation in 21st Century America than to be accused of racist or biased behavior. Right now, quite frankly, I don't know if I'm more indignant or depressed that this is what the ACLU wants America to think about the Milwaukee Police Department," Flynn said.
The lawsuit claims police data shows officers perform more stops in black or Latino neighborhoods.
Chief Flynn told reporters he has a moral obligation to carefully deploy police -- not to be concerned with getting sued. Flynn said the neighborhoods where many of the claims in the suit are coming from are where Milwaukee police received the highest number of calls for policing.
"To do anything else but to be present available and visible in the public space of this city where violence is greatest would be a dereliction of duty," Flynn said.
Chief Flynn offered data from 2015 to back up his claims. He said per 100,000 residents, the homicide rate of Caucasians was 4.6. For African-Americans and Latinos, it was 64 per 100,000.
The lawsuit says MPD traffic stops increased from 66,000 in 2007 to close to 200,000 in 2015.
Chief Flynn said the department uses lawful traffic enforcement -- and rather than issuing tickets for each traffic stop, 80 percent result in warnings.
"I want to take this opportunity to categorically and unequivocally reject the base of the assertions made by the ACLU in their lawsuit," Flynn said.
Flynn said the Milwaukee Police Department does analyze its data -- and says it has not shown anything to indicate there would be bias. He says there is a difference between bias and disparity.
FOX6 News reached out to the city attorney, who was unable to comment on the lawsuit because they have yet to be served the paperwork.