Jeramey Jannene

Morales Potential Return As Police Chief Delayed Until July 12th

Extension gives parties more time to negotiate settlement.

By - Jul 3rd, 2021 11:04 am
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales. Photo from the Milwaukee Police Department.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales. Photo from the Milwaukee Police Department.

Ousted Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales didn’t get his job back Saturday.

The former chief’s legal team, led by Frank Gimbel, mutually agreed with city officials to delay his court-ordered reinstatement until Monday, July 12th. The extension gives both sides time to continue to work on a settlement.

Morales was unanimously demoted last August by the Fire & Police Commission before his deadline to respond to 11 directives issued by the commission expired. That led 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. That timeline was to allow Morales to return as chief on Saturday, July 3rd, something Gimbel said Morales was prepared to do.

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

The exact amount of a settlement Morales is seeking remains unclear, but the former chief did file a claim against the city for $625,000 last August. Morales, now a resident of the Village of Pewaukee, also has a federal suit pending against the city.

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. Two of the three remaining candidates dropped out after the commission cast multiple tie votes in trying to select a new chief.

Norman has tried to get a different job as the Morales-FPC saga unfolds. He was one of three finalists to be the City of Wauwatosa‘s police chief. But the western suburb’s Police & Fire Commission gave the job to Norman’s former coworker, retired MPD captain James H. MacGillis, on Thursday.

The acting chief meanwhile continues to pick up support in the community. Members of the Common Council, including President Cavalier Johnson, have openly endorsed Norman, while others have said his time as acting chief should be viewed as an on-the-job interview.

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

Gimbel did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The city is represented by outside counsel on the Morales case, Nathaniel Cade of Cade Law Group.

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Categories: Public Safety

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