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Candidates tie for 2nd time in vote for next Milwaukee police chief

Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 23:16:28-05

CITY OF MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission for the second time tied in a vote to choose the city's next police chief.

During a meeting Thursday night, the six commissioners equally divided their votes between the top two candidates, Malik Aziz and Hoyt Mahaley. The commissioners voted for the same candidates they voted for during a meeting to choose a chief last Thursday.

The commission will vote again at a meeting on Jan. 7, 2021. The FPC is still down one commissioner, and a new one could be approved by the Milwaukee Common Council ahead of the FPC's vote, breaking the tie.

Acting Milwaukee Police Chief Michael Brunson is set to retire Dec. 23.

Dallas Police Major Aziz received support from Commissioner Everett Cocroft, Chairman Nelson Soler and Vice-Chairman Angela McKenzie.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to bring a fresh set of eyes to this city,” McKenzie said.

Commissioners Fred Crouther, Steven DeVougas and Ann Wilson sided with Mahaley, a Milwaukee native and current FBI special agent.

“I think that he’s the kind of a person that we need that has ties in the community,” Wilson said.

TMJ4 News reached out to both finalists after the vote Thursday night. Mahaley has yet to respond to our request, but last week he said he was still excited about the opportunity.

In a phone interview Thursday night, Aziz said the continued deadlock is bittersweet.

“The only thing I seem to be lacking for the city of Milwaukee is that I was not born in Milwaukee,” Aziz said.

Also Thursday night, the manager of the City of Dallas, T.C. Broadnax, announced seven finalists for their city's next police chief. One of those candidates was identified as Malik Aziz, The Dallas Morning News reports. Aziz is currently employed with the Dallas Police Department.

“The department that calls me {and says}, ‘Malik Aziz, we want you to be our chief, we believe in you,’ That is the job that I am going to accept,” Aziz said.

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said he believes another acting chief will be appointed to serve a short stint until a permanent chief is named.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement Thursday evening that "Whether there is a seventh member or not, the current six committee members have a job to do and that’s to select Milwaukee’s next police chief. There will be consistent leadership at the Milwaukee Police Department while this decision is being made.”

The vote comes after former Police Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted to captain by the FPC, over ongoing tensions between the body and the former chief, as well as allegations against Morales that he lied to the commission.

Morales' lawyer has since called for Morales to be reinstated to his position as chief, arguing the chief was not given due process.

Attorneys for the City of Milwaukee concluded on Nov. 16 that Morales did not receive due process in his demotion, and urged the Milwaukee County Court hearing Morales' petition to send the case back to the FPC for a full hearing.

That hearing has not been scheduled.

TMJ4's Shaun Gallagher interviewed each of the three finalists. You can read those stories here:

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