In 2013, the Racial Equity report ranked Dane County among the worst in the nation for racial inequities in arrests and detention. Shortly afterward, Madison was rocked by a series of deadly police shootings, including Paul Heenan, Ashley DiPiazza, Tony Robinson and Michael Schumacher. In response, the Madison Common Council met in July, 2016 to discuss funding for a independent review of the Madison Police Department.
Madison Police Chief Koval responded to the debate with a vitriolic post on his online blog, warning the Common Council that “they were being watched,” and stating “this is a pre-emptive strike from me to you.” Now that $400,000 study is out, and California-based consultant OIR Group says the defensiveness and combativeness exhibited by Koval is emblematic of the problems it found with the Madison Police Department. While the report found much to praise in the MPD, it also found serious issues related to the use of deadly force, response to the mentally ill, and responsiveness and accountability to the community.
Before founding the OIR Group, Michael Gennaco served as Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the California U.S. Attorney’s Office and was the Chief Attorney for the Office for Independent Review for Los Angeles County. Gennaco was the primary author on the Madison Police Department review, and he joins Eight O’Clock Buzz host Brian Standing by phone.