Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Morales Starts Process To Sue City

Chief filed to retire on August 12th

By - Aug 21st, 2020 11:36 am
Police Chief Alfonso Morales. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales is moving to sue the Fire & Police Commission following his demotion.

Morales, through attorney Frank Gimbel, has filed a $625,000 claim against the city and is requesting review of his demotion. The move is required for a lawsuit to be filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The Common Council could also vote to pay his claim or approve a settlement advanced by the independent City Attorney.

The claim calls for the $625,000 based on lost wages, damage from loss of both reputation and future career opportunities and legal fees. Morales retained Gimbel, as prior chiefs have done, to represent him before the Fire & Police Commission.

The commission issued Morales 11 directives, viewed as direct orders, on July 20th without any public debate. On August 6th the commission voted unanimously to demote Morales, but did not charge him with violating any of the directives.

The move came after Morales was granted a four-year term by the commission in December 2019. A leaked video, which shows commission chair Steven M. DeVougas with a client during an investigation before the police department, benefitted Morales and his pending appointment when it was leaked and led to calls for DeVougas to resign. A third-party investigation found DeVougas likely committed an ethics violation, but also found Morales interfered in the investigation.

“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions,” said commissioner Raymond Robakowski, the lone former police officer on the seven-member commission. “Mr. Morales has failed the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, the people of the City of Milwaukee and he has misled me and none of this is acceptable.”

“I would have never seconded the meeting for his reappointment to be taken up and I would never cast my vote in support,” said Robakowski of what he has learned since. “He repeatedly lied to me and the commission about the videotape leak.”

Gimbel, in public appearances leading up to the August 6th meeting, alleged that the commission was setting up Morales to fail.

“As of this date, despite repeated requests, Morales has not received a copy of any final, written findings or order encapsulating the board’s decision to demote him and does not know if any such document exists,” wrote Gimbel in the filing.

Even if Morales doesn’t ultimately proceed with a lawsuit, Morales will still be paid by the city. A city pension estimates he will be paid $104,683.32 per year in retirement. The amount would have been higher had Morales served longer as chief, one of the things cited in his claim.

The former chief filed for retirement on August 12th.

Since filing for retirement, Morales was photographed at President Donald Trump‘s campaign rally on Wednesday in Oshkosh.

The commission appointed Michael Brunson, Morales’ assistant chief, as acting police chief. It has opened a nationwide search for new applicants with a deadline of September 11th.

“With the realization that no city is immune from the realities of racial polarization, Milwaukee’s next Chief of Police will need to build bridges between the department and a citizenry sometimes disaffected by interactions between officers and residents,” wrote the commission in its job posting.

A full copy of the claim is available on Urban Milwaukee.

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Categories: Public Safety

One thought on “City Hall: Morales Starts Process To Sue City”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Why did we fire this guy again? He seemed like he was doing a pretty good job given the circumstances. I guess its not their tax money they will be throwing away in the lawsuit so who cares right?

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