Andrade v. City of Milwaukee Board of Fire and Police Commissioners

No. 20-AP-333

On September 15, 2023 Law Forward filed an amicus brief on behalf of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Black Wisconsinites, supporting the termination of Milwaukee police officer Erik Andrade. Andrade’s termination was a result of his racist social media comments, and BLOC argues that these comments exposed a disturbing bias against Black people that is incompatible with the role of law enforcement in our democracy.

Erik Andrade’s termination, while framed as an employment dispute, holds profound implications for Milwaukee’s Black community and their trust in law enforcement. Milwaukee has a long history of racial segregation, which has left the Black community vulnerable to dangerous racial bias and mistreatment by the police.

Racial disparities have plagued Milwaukee for decades, from hyper-segregation to disparities in wealth, education, and the criminal justice system. The legacy of racism in the city has resulted in a disproportionately high level of police violence and harassment against the Black community.

The amicus brief underscores that Andrade’s reinstatement would not only undermine trust in law enforcement but also perpetuate racial bias in policing. BLOC contends that removing individuals with such biases is essential to the pursuit of a just and equal society.

In addition, it is critical to ensure that the Milwaukee Board of Fire and Police Commissioners’ decisions about misconduct by officers are respected. There must be civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies to ensure community voices are represented in policing. Facilitating and supporting civic engagement is not only about access to the ballot, but also ensuring meaningful representation of community voices in the administration of the legal system that impacts that community.

To maintain trust between the police and the Black community in Milwaukee, it is crucial that individuals like Andrade are held accountable for their actions. BLOC calls on the court to affirm the termination of Erik Andrade, uphold the actions of the Fire and Police Commission and support the ongoing efforts to root out racism in law enforcement.

Case Timeline

Amicus Brief

Supreme Court of Wisconsin


September 15, 2023

Brief filed.

April 30, 2024

In a 5-2 decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court the Court affirmed the Court of Appeals decision that Andrande’s due process rights were not violated and that the Chief of Police properly put Andrade on notice that his racist comments compromised his credibility. The decision appeared to pull some of its reasoning from the amicus brief we filed on behalf of BLOC.