The unanimous vote to bury Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was held by the city’s Fire and Police Commission on Thursday night. FPC is a citizen review board that monitors the activities of the fire and police departments.
The pressure to downgrade Morales began weeks ago, on July 20, when seven members of Milwaukee’s 15-member joint council released a statement entitled “Too Many Failures: We Have No Confidence in Chief Morales.”
The joint statement referred to several incidents of “failed leadership” by Morales, including an incident after George Floyd’s death in which an officer knelt on the neck of a protesting face. That official, the statement said, is still on duty.
7;s joint statement also reduces tear gas and rubber bullets used “to try to harm hundreds of peaceful protesters.”
Also on July 20, FPC Morales sent a list of 11 directives as a result of his “continued failure to communicate openly”, the directives say. They include requests for departmental records regarding various arrests and police shootings, including findings from an investigation into the arrest of Sterling Brown, a player for the Milwaukee Bucks who was arrested and taken out in 2018 after a change resulting from a parking violation.
In response to the FPC’s list of directives, the Milwaukee Police Department on Wednesday released a statement saying the department “has fully complied with all issued directives.”
Still, on Thursday, a day after the department’s statement, the FPC voted to downgrade Morales to its former captaincy.
Commissioner Ray Robakowski said Morales had “deliberately misled the public” over the past two weeks.
“His behavior is limitless, fraught with ethical dilemmas and wrong decisions, making it inconsistent with anyone who has the privilege of leading the Milwaukee Police Department,” he said.
The meeting was held in person and Morales participated in video, according to CNN-affiliated WDJT.
After the meeting, lawyer Franklyn Grimbel, who represented Morales, told reporters that the former boss “intends to review his options following the FPC decision,” according to the WDJT.
CNN has reached out to Grimbel, but the request for comment was not immediately returned.
Morales’ change comes amid changing public views on policing across the country – as more and more Americans demand accountability and police departments.
Just two hours from Milwaukee, Chicago has seen violent clashes between protesters and police, amid talks to defeat the Chicago Police Department and complaints about police misconduct.
In Los Angeles, the City Council made cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget and has moved forward with a plan to replace police officers with community-based respondents for nonviolent conversations. In Canada, the Vancouver City Council has made a similar move.