Supporters, critics of chief, including family of Joel Acevedo, rallied outside closed FPC session

MILWAUKEE -- There was relief for some, and disappointment for others as supporters and critics of Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales gathered outside City Hall while the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission met Monday evening, July 20 and issued 11 directives for the chief.

There was a clear contrast between those standing in favor of Chief Morales, and others speaking out against him. At certain moments, both groups stood face-to-face as they waited for a decision.

"There needs to be a complete, total reform of our system because the system we have in place now is not working for everyone in Milwaukee," said Jacob Bowers, critic of Chief Morales.

Upon arrival at City Hall, one group of protesters who wanted to see the chief removed demanded to be let inside the building -- pounding on the doors. The meeting, however, was open only to the FPC, Chief Morales and those assisting with livestream capabilities.

"It's time for a change," said Jose Acevedo, father of Joel Acevedo. "It's time for a new beginning without Morales."

Community activists and Joel Acevedo's family took to a megaphone, speaking out against Morales.

"We back to the same old thing," said Farina Brooks, critic of Chief Morales. "Nothing is going to change as long as he is in office. I feel like we've been cheated again."

Not far away stood a group of supporters, including former police officers and other law enforcement members.

"Chief Morales was homegrown, through the ranks of the Milwaukee Police Department," said Melissa Menge, supporter of Chief Morales. "He is backed by the union, and is an excellent leader."

"As far as I'm concerned, he's a very honest person," said Gonzalo Barinaga, supporter of Chief Morales.

Members of the Milwaukee Police Association said they were pleased with the FPC's decision not to strip Morales of his title Monday.

"He stands behind his men, and especially at times like this, this is the type of leader we need," said Amanda Claas, supporter of Chief Morales.

Supporters of Chief Morales left soon after the FPC's decision came down. Protesters stayed outside City Hall until about 7:30 p.m., when they left to continue marching in the streets.

As for Chief Morales, he was ordered by the FPC to comply with the directives or face disciplinary action including suspension, demotion or firing. The chief and his team said they will comply to the best of their ability to directives they find legitimate and warranted. The FPC deadline to comply with some of the directives is Aug. 4.