MILWAUKEE POLICE CHIEF DEMOTED
chief demoted over tear-gas use, other concerns
An oversight board demoted Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales on Thursday,
After questioning how he handled multiple incidents, including ordering officers to fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death.
The city’s Fire and Police Commission unanimously voted Thursday evening to demote Morales to captain after three-and-a-half years on the job.
The chief’s attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, says Morales’ relationship with the commission has been deteriorating,
Ever since he refused the chairman’s demand to fire an officer involved in a arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown in January 2018.
Most recently the commission criticized Morales for authorizing tear gas to disperse protesters.
The board has also raised questions over how the department has policed Black communities.
MIWAUKEE BUCKS PLAYER ISSUE
Gimbel said problems began when officers arrested Bucks player Brown for parking illegally in January 2018.
Officers swarmed the Bucks guard and used a stun gun on him when he didn’t remove his hands from his pockets.
The commission’s chairman, Steven DeVougas, who is Black,
Told Morales to fire one of the officers involved but Morales refused, the attorney said.
Morales joined the Milwaukee department in 1993 and was appointed chief in February 2018.
“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions,
Making it inconsistent with someone who has the privilege of leading the Milwaukee Police Department,” Commissioner Raymond Robakowski said.
The board named Assistant Police Chief Michael J. Brunson Sr. as acting chief.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Thursday night he was angered by the commission’s action,
And that Morales should have been given a chance to respond to directives the panel had issued.
“The discussion surrounding this decision tonight was completely lacking in transparency.
The action taken by the commission tonight was not good government,” Barrett said.
The decision comes as Wisconsin’s largest police department grapples with a surge in gun violence,
And plans security for a scaled-down Democratic National Convention.
A number of police chiefs across the country have left their jobs as pressure mounts to rethink American policing following Floyd’s death,
Including Erika Shields in Atlanta, Jamie Resch in Portland, Oregon, and William Smith in Richmond, Virginia.
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