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FPC authorizes independent investigation into MPD regarding police interview

Posted at 8:47 PM, Feb 05, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Getting to the bottom of a scandal at Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission. The board Thursday night voted to investigate its own chairman and the leaked video of a controversial police interview.

The video shows prominent Milwaukee developer Kalan Haywood Sr. being questioned by officers at Sojourner Family Peace Center about an alleged sexual assault. It also shows Steven DeVougas, attorney and chair of the commission, sitting in on the interview. No charges were ever filed during questioning. Haywood Sr. was a client of DeVougas in his role as a corporate lawyer.

The independent investigation would look into whether it was appropriate for MPD to interview Haywood Sr. and whether the interview violated any department rules.

Another resolution would authorize an independent investigation into MPD for the "unauthorized disclosure of the investigatory file with Mr. Kalan Haywood Sr. and whether the disclosure violated any department rules."

DeVougas wants to focus on the leaked video.

"There was an unauthorized and illegal disclosure of sensitive crimes information that should have never been made public," DeVougas said during Thursday's meeting. "That is the main issue and that is the black eye on the department."

DeVougas said he still asked the Ethics Board to look into his role.

"So me being involved or in the mix is a casualty or is really a red herring," DeVougas said.

The leak came in December, just as the board was discussing renewing Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales' contract. DeVougas also questions the timing.

"I think that there was definitely a political angle to it, I think it was sloppy," DeVougas said after the meeting. "But it was definitely a political angle, because there was no reason, it's never happened, you could probably research, there's never been a leak of a whole entire investigatory file."

Now the board wants to hire an outside investigator for the matter, suggesting the state Department of Justice or the Milwaukee County Sheriff. One commissioner suggested putting DeVougas on administrative leave, and DeVougas disagreed.

Some members of the public don't think an outside investigator is necessary.

"You want to hire an attorney, you want, you need some staff," said Paul Mozina. "You have a staff."

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