'He lost time:' Chief's attorney requests extension on deadlines for 11 directives from FPC

MILWAUKEE -- The attorney representing Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Wednesday, July 22 he's requesting more time from the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission for his client to comply with the 11 directives handed to him in a special session Monday, July 20. He said the only problem is, he can't get a hold of anyone.

The Milwaukee Police Association in a statement Wednesday, July 22 responded to a statement by seven alders expressing "no confidence" in Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.

"Of course, he lost time," said Franklyn Gimbel, attorney for Chief Morales.

Morales' job depends on compliance with the 11 directives, with deadlines varying between one to two and a half weeks. Gimbel said he didn't receive a copy of the directives until Tuesday afternoon, more than 20 hours after they were assigned.

Billboard on I-94 (for drivers headed west) near the the Marquette Interchange

"The requests are overwhelmingly detailed and some...have multiple parts to them," said Gimbel.

Gimbel said Wednesday he's requesting an extension on the deadlines to Aug. 28. As of Wednesday evening, there had been no response from the FPC.

"I think there are some political machinations that are happening behind the scenes," said Gimbel.

The chief's supporters, including the police union, said the directives are a setup to get him fired. The legalities of his termination are up for debate.

"He has a written contract for four years," said Gimbel. "That contract does not have any provisions to essentially say given A, B, or C, we can shortcut this contract."

Some of the chief's critics feel the directives are a long time coming, and only promote transparency and accountability -- but Gimbel said the FPC has yet to show transparency, as there was no public discussion on the directives before or after the vote.

"There was no discussion about them, who drafted them," said Gimbel.

FOX6 has interview requests in with the FPC, and also reached out to the mayor's office Wednesday but have yet to hear back.

Police union responds to alders' statement of 'no confidence' in Chief Morales

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Police Association in a statement Wednesday responded to a statement by seven alders expressing "no confidence" in Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.

That statement came down Monday, July 20, when the FPC issued the directives to the chief with the deadlines.

In the statement, the alders said they "hope to soon be moving on" from Chief Morales' "rocky tenure," noting the chief "failed to fire" Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Mattioli, charged in the death of Joel Acevedo. They also mentioned the chief's lack of "disciplinary action" against an officer who knelt on the neck of a protester after George Floyd's death, and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Police Association said "the failure lies with the FPC," which "forced (the Mattioli investigation) away" from MPD and have not issued discipline in more amount of time than the MPD's investigation. Nearly two months after taking control of the investigation, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission announced July 10 that disciplinary charges were filed against Mattioli, while also announcing a referral for a disciplinary trial. Mattioli, 32, a 13-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department, and has been placed on full suspension in the wake of Acevedo's death in April at the officer's home. Prosecutors said Mattioli indicated he "held (Acevedo) on the ground" after Acevedo tried stealing from him and punched another man in the home. It happened the morning after the off-duty officer hosted a get-together.

Statement from Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Russell W. Stamper and Alderman Khalif J. Rainey who have "no confidence" in Chief Morales:

"The pattern of failed leadership by Police Chief Alfonso Morales is unmistakable and devastating, and we hope we will soon be moving on from his rocky tenure.

"The Chief failed to discipline a police dispatcher after the dispatcher gave police officers the wrong address of a caller in 2018 who said he would murder a 15-year-old boy (the address did not exist and the boy’s body was found several days later).

"The Chief failed to fire Officer Michael Mattioli for the off-duty chokehold death of Joel Acevedo, even though he had one month to do so before the Fire and Commission took over the disciplinary investigation. And he still has taken no disciplinary action against the officer who knelt on the neck of a face-down, prone protester near 6th and McKinley in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (he called it “justified”), and that officer, who took one knee off the back of someone's neck just long enough so that he could use the other knee to pummel that person's stomach, is still on duty.

"That incident happened while so-called “less lethal” munitions - tear gas and rubber bullets - were being used to attempt to injure hundreds of peaceful protesters. Many of them were on their knees chanting “We are peaceful. Are you peaceful?” just before the barrage of chemical irritants and projectiles were intentionally fired. The Chief and his command staff have expressed no regret over that outrageous violation of our citizens' civil liberties, and have used an empty plastic water bottle that caused no injury to anyone as the primary evidence for why such shocking action was necessary.

"Chief Morales, through his actions and words, has disrespected the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest movement and the demands of immigrants and their advocates."

As for the protests, the police union suggested the alders "come join the (police) line next time," indicating the "peaceful protests" are anything but.

The union suggested instead of defunding the police, the city leaders focus on other issues like "failing schools" and "raising revenue."

Also addressed in the police union's statement is the fact that FPC is facing shakeups of its own -- with Chairman Steven DeVougas under investigation for a potential ethics violation. DeVougas was the subject of an internal investigation stemming from his representation of a local developer, Kalan Haywood Sr., who was the subject of a criminal investigation at the time. The Milwaukee Police Association says DeVougas acted as the defense attorney for the man accused of sexual assault, which was investigated by Milwaukee police, hence the conflict, because the FPC oversees the department. The internal investigator found DeVougas’ behavior violated the city’s ethics code. The city is now looking into the investigators' findings. This began as an investigation into a leaked video involving DeVougas. All of this was going on when Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was up for reappointment. The investigator determined the two were not connected.

Statement from the MPA:

"Yesterday, Seven Common Council Members signed a statement having no confidence in Chief Morales. For this they stated several factors, most of it being blatant lies or misconceptions. Allow us the opportunity to break down a few of these factors.

"The Seven stated that the Chief failed to fire Officer Mattioli. What the Seven did not state, though, is that the Chief must follow state law and must give due process to Mattioli. The department was days away from completing the investigation and discipline when the impatient FPC forced it away from the Milwaukee Police Department and took it over. They have now had the investigation for over 63 days -- this is more than the amount of time they gave the Milwaukee Police Department to investigate! Yet they have not suggested discipline. This failure lies with the FPC.

"The disgusting narrative the Seven are pushing regarding the "peaceful protesters" is an absolute lie. When a group of people forms and beings to throw bricks and bottles at the police it is no longer a protest, but a riot. Would these Seven Common Council Members had preferred that the police surrendered their police station, stopped protecting businesses and homes and let them destroy the city like we have seen in Seattle and other cities across the country? My suggestion to these Seven is come join the line next time and see how many times you are willing to get hit in the head with a brick before you deploy gas to disperse the crowd.

"The last issue we will address is the leak of the Haywood Video. An independent investigator found no evidence as to who leaked the video. Why are these Common Council Members so concerned with a leaked video? Things are leaked from the Police Department, Mayor's Office, and City Hall on a daily basis! Is it really that they are outraged for the victim? Or is it because Haywood was embarrassed by the disgusting and vial way he treats women and now wants retribution? This may be a better explanation since many Common Council Members have taken money in campaign contributions from the Haywood Group or his affiliates. Haywood obviously wields a lot of power and influence in this community since he was able to secure millions of dollars in city money even though the Comptroller's Office described it as a bad investment.

"Perhaps instead of these Seven looking at ways to defund the police, they can look at ways to attract businesses to their districts to raise revenue. Perhaps they can focus on their failing schools in their district so more people would be attracted to living there. Perhaps they can focus on their own failed polities that for decades now have pushed their district deeper into poverty. Unfortunately for the community they serve, these Seven find it much easier to blame the police for all their problems instead of looking in the mirror and asking if they themselves may be the real issue."

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

FPC's directives for Chief Morales:

As for the chief, the FPC said he must comply with the below directives "unless overruled by the mayor," whose office said Tuesday he was reviewing the directives.

CLICK HERE for the signed list of directives released by the FPC.

1. The Board of Fire Police Commission requests authority to obtain department records, as part of policy review involving the following incidents and individuals:

    2.  Community-oriented policing

    Directing the chief to prepare and present promptly a draft of a community-orienting policy and standard operating procedure in collaboration with community leaders and the Milwaukee Common Council at the next Policy and Standards Committee meeting. Deadline July 30.

    3.  Create a discipline matrix to accompany the Code of Conduct

    Deadline Aug. 6.

    4. COVID-19 mitigation plans and updates

    Policy should be presented to the Policy and Standards Committee July 30.

    5. Reappointment contingency update

    Provide a full update with the terms of reappointment outlined by Commissioner Soler in December 2019. Provide statistics on crime and arrest data, how MPD is integrating community policing into their policies, MPD pursuit policy and how they use technology to avoid complaints, reckless driving efforts that MPD has in place, 911 center and the stats related to turnover and response rates, CAD and technology updates, keep the board updated on retirements and the plans to replace staff, address issues with policies that have been implemented and report if they are working or not working, management of overtime of the Milwaukee Police Department, be accessible to the commissioners with  an open door policy, work with the community to work with supporters and opponents. be transparent while working with the board.

    This report should be in writing within 15 days.

    6. Promotional process

    Provide a vetting and full explanation of the methodology, process, all candidate information for promoting candidates in the ranks of assistant chief, captain lieutenant and emergency management communications manager positions. An updated Milwaukee PD organizational structure should be amended and provided to include names of individuals currently in these ranks. Deadline Aug. 4.

    7. Responsiveness

    Directing the chief to comply with all requests from the FPC within 7 days of receipt or in accordance with the deadlines set fourth by the executive director and or the board. An amendment will be made to SOP 265  open records at the next Policy and Standards Committee meeting July 30 to make this policy on the SOP.

    8. Open records

    Directing the chief to order a policy for the department to comply with any and all FPC open record requests under all circumstances. Amendment will be made to SOP 265 at the next Policy and Standards Committee meeting July 30.

    9. Chief must appear virtually or in person at all FPC meetings

    Must give 24-hour notice if he can't make it and must send a rep on his behalf.

    10: Open communication

    Chief is directed to copy the executive director on any and all communication made to the FPC to ensure transparency.

    11. Immediate status briefing

    The chief, as head of the department, will immediately provide written updates on MPD compliance on these directives at the next FPC meeting on Aug 6., and should be prepared to respond to questions made from the board.