Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Morales Or Milwaukee, Who Will Blink First?

Former chief continues to gain leverage for any potential settlement.

By - Jun 25th, 2021 03:00 pm
Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a January 2020 press conference. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a January 2020 press conference. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Former Milwaukee police chief Alfonso Morales, through his attorney Frank Gimbel, is indicating he’s ready to come back to work. It’s just the latest posturing move in a lawsuit that many, in and outside of City Hall, have expected for months to end with a large settlement.

Morales was unanimously demoted last August by the Fire & Police Commission before the response timeline on 11 directives issued by the commission expired. That triggered Morales, chief since 2018, to retire and sue the city for denying his due process rights.

His case has received help multiple times along the way. City Attorney Tearman Spencer, in a filing, agreed that Morales was denied his due process rights. Then in December, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Foley ruled in Morales’ favor and ordered him reinstated. In May, he set a 45-day timeline for that to happen.

Morales is to be reinstated on July 3rd if no settlement is reached. And Gimbel says Morales, now a resident of the Village of Pewaukee, is ready to go to work.

The city, meanwhile, has changed attorneys on the case. It is now represented by outside counsel, Nathaniel Cade of Cade Law Group.

On Thursday, Cade asked for the 45-day timeline to be stayed (paused). But Foley denied Cade’s request, yet another blow to the city’s defense.

“This disgraceful conduct by the commission has created complete uncertainty and total chaos in this community,” said Foley. “I’m forcing the city to obey the law or buy their way out of this because of what they did.”

The city is now appealing the measure to the Court of Appeals.

No negotiations between the parties are currently scheduled, and mediation between the parties did not yield a resolution.

Morales meanwhile is pursuing a second suit, this one in federal court, claiming the controversy has made it difficult for him to find employment elsewhere.

Mayor Tom Barrett has begun replacing the appointed FPC commissioners as their terms expire. Three appointments are currently pending before the Common Council.

Acting chief Jeffrey Norman remains caught in the middle. He was the last local candidate remaining in a national search for a new police chief, but was eliminated when the field was narrowed to three. But that search has now been paused and he is a finalist to be the new chief in neighboring Wauwatosa.

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Categories: Public Safety

One thought on “City Hall: Morales Or Milwaukee, Who Will Blink First?”

  1. mkwagner says:

    Please do not let Morales return as police chief. His response to the BLM protests was horrendous. I agree he was not treated fairly. However, his treatment of my neighbors during the protests last summer was equally horrendous. We do not need a police chief who shows no respect for the people he is supposed to serve.

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