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MADISON, Wis. - A group of black protesters rallied Tuesday night after Madison's police chief wrote that he's tired of them blaming his department for perpetuating racial disparities.
The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition has staged occasional protests in Madison decrying black men's deaths at the hands of white police officers nationally. They've also called for officials to release 350 black prisoners from the Dane County Jail and halt funding for a new lock-up.
Last week the group sent a letter to Police Chief Michael Koval demanding his officers stay out of black neighborhoods. Koval wrote on his blog Monday that he's sick of the group blaming his officers for minorities' problems, and that he's adding more officers to targeted areas of the city.
"The largeness of our contacts are proactive and non-hostile and helpful, and that's how we're going to continue to break down these barriers of mistrust," Koval said Monday.
Group members said predominantly white neighborhoods experience little police contact, and they would like to see that level of involvement in predominantly black neighborhoods.
The group protested outside the City-County Building before heading inside to a Public Protection Committee meeting to protest a proposed $8 million jail.
A statement released today said, "We've lived the experience that more police contact means more arrests."
Organization members said they are happy to participate in an open conversation with the community to end racial disparities.
The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition will meet Thursday at the University of Wisconsin to formally address Koval's response.
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