Graham Kilmer

Acevedo Family Demands Justice

Attorneys call for more to be charged in Joel Acevedo's killing. His parents doubt justice will be done.

By - Jun 24th, 2020 06:43 pm
Ben Crump speaks at today's press conference. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Ben Crump speaks at today’s press conference. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Mattioli made his initial appearance in court Wednesday, charged with 1st Degree Reckless Homicide, for the murder of Joel Acevedo.

In April, Mattioli held a party at his house which Acevedo attended. At the party Mattioli put Acevedo in a chokehold that ultimately killed him. Acevedo’s family and attorneys have reviewed the recorded 911 calls and body camera footage of police officers that responded to the house, and they say that Acevedo was strangled by Mattioli for 10 minutes straight.

While Acevedo was being choked he yelled out that he wanted to go home. This unfortunate cry has become famous in Milwaukee and is often chanted by local protesters marching against police brutality.

The Acevedo family is represented by attorney B’Ivory LaMarr. And recently, national civil rights attorney Ben Crump has joined LaMarr to provide counsel to the family during Mattioli’s trial. Crump represents George Floyd’s family, and previously represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.

Based upon circuit court records, Mattioli was allowed to remain out of custody during his trial on the $50,000 bond that he initially posted after his arrest. The prosecuting attorney is Assistant District Attorney Paul Tiffin. Mattioli is represented by attorneys Michael F. Hart and Craig Powell.

Meanwhile, outside the southern entrance of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, a group of protesters and activists organized a press conference and protest.

LaMarr and Crump both called for charges to be brought against the individuals that held Joel down while Mattioli choked him. LaMarr charged that District Attorney John Chisholm‘s office was dispensing “coupon justice.” That is, “charge one and get two free.”

LaMarr said the DA’s office has no problem finding probable cause to charge the hundreds of people sitting in the Milwaukee County Jail, yet somehow seems to be struggling with it in the Acevedo murder case. “What we expect… that when you have evidence that meets probable cause you take that evidence, provide what is called due process and then present that evidence to a reasonable jury.”

Crump blasted Wednesday’s bond hearing for Mattioli, saying “This was a bond hearing for a man who literally strangled [Acevedo’s mother’s] baby boy to death. And yet there was no request to increase the bail amount even though this bail amount was set when he was still alive.” (Joel Acevedo lingered for days, not dying until after the bail was set.) Crump said he was hoping court officials would “acknowledge the sanctity of life.”

The Acevedo’s and their attorneys have seen body camera footage from responding officers, and listened to the 911 call recording, and say the evidence shows Mattioli had his arm around Acevedo’s neck for 10 minutes.

According to Crump, the body camera footage shows Mattioli still had his arm around Acevedo’s neck when the first officer got to the scene, who asks whether he’s still breathing, to which Mattioli responds, with his arm around Acevedo’s neck, ‘I don’t know.’ He said the responding officer treats Mattioli like a fellow officer, “not like he’s a man who’s strangling another human being to death.”

Acevedo’s mother, Maribel, said that after watching Mattioli’s initial appearance, she doesn’t believe anyone will defend her family, or her son’s life. Her husband Jose struck a similar tone, saying, “No one spoke up for us in that courtroom today. My son is not gonna get a fair trial, I already know it.”

Maribel said she was disgusted to sit in the courtroom and “to look at a man, that held my son for 10 minutes, and took his life, behind closed doors, and have this false self-defense narrative.”

As she spoke, many in the crowd were moved to tears. “I know my son,” Maribel said, “he wanted to go home.”

“You took my son,” she said.

Press Conference

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

Categories: Public Safety

One thought on “Acevedo Family Demands Justice”

  1. just1paul says:

    There is no way an officer on suspension for any reason should be paid. My employer never paid people who were suspended. if they were cleared after investigations they received pay for the suspension dates, otherwise nope.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us