MILWAUKEE — Attorneys for the former Milwaukee Police Chief have filed a legal brief asking for Alfonso Morales to be reinstated to his position of chief.
The filing claims the chief was not given due process from the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) when he was demoted to the rank of captain in early August.
In the brief filed Wednesday, Morales’ attorney says that after the chief was given several directives by the Commission on July 20, 2020, and 30 days to reply, he was demoted anyway after responding to the directives in a timely manner. The vote at the Aug. 6, 2020 meeting was unanimous among the members. The brief calls the directives “a booby trap.” Set up by the board, anticipating Morales wouldn’t comply.
The former chief’s attorney Frank Gimbel, says that prior to the FPC meeting on the 6th, former Chairman Steven Devougas held a press conference where he was critical of Morales setting up what was an “anti-Morales bias” during the later meeting, and decision to demote the chief.
During that meeting, Gimbel says neither he nor Morales had a chance to speak to the commission and that the directives were not mentioned as a reason for the demotion, but rather that the chief had been untruthful with the commission.
Morales’ attorney’s claim that the Fire and Police Commission had the right to issue directives under the law, but not the right to impose discipline. Attorney’s further claim that due process was not given to the former chief.
Gimbel says “the board utterly failed to comply with the process and standards required by Wisconsin law.” He adds that the board's decision to demote Morales lacked just cause. Writing “The Board’s decision cannot stand and Morales should be reinstated to his position as Chief retroactive to Aug. 6, 2020.”
Morales and his attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the city seeking more than $600,000 in damages for breach of contract, denial of due process, and damage to his reputation.
TMJ4 News received this from the Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Griselda Aldrete:“As the Executive Director of the Fire and Police Commission, I do not speak on behalf of the Board of Commissioners. We are consulting with the City Attorney's office on this matter and intend to let the process proceed through the courts.”
TMJ4 News has also reached out to Commission members about the filing. This comes as the Commission is in the process of hiring a new chief. Tuesday, they announced they would narrow the list of candidates down to 3 and then hold a town hall-style event for public input.