The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission chairman published a letter Thursday afternoon ahead of an FPC meeting that will vote on his position, as well as the possible discipline or dismissal of the city's police chief.
Chairman Steven DeVougas released an open letter to the public, laying out his thoughts on recent FPC-Milwaukee police relations and a timeline of events he said lead to tension between leaders.
"Let me begin by saying that I did not want it to come to this. For the past year, I have been silent, while my name and reputation, as well as the reputation of my associates, have been dragged through the mud," wrote DeVougas. "I have remained silent because I wanted to 'trust the process' and allow the 'system' to play out. However, this system was not designed to promote justice. It was never designed with the best interests of the community and the citizens. The system was designed to protect those in power, at the expense of the citizenry, and hamper effective change. And unfortunately, all of these powerful institutions have come together and are playing their part in holding back the City of Milwaukee."
In the letter, DeVougas notes several instances of tension between the commission, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, and Mayor Tom Barrett. DeVougas came under fire in 2019 after a leaked video of a controversial police interview involving him lead to an ethics violation investigation. DeVougas detailed the events that lead up to the leak, stating the leak came days after DeVougas publicly called for the slowing down of Morales' reappointment as chief.
DeVougas also wrote about his conversation with Barrett about his intentions to not run again for chair of the commission.
"I did not plan to run for Chair, even though I have not done anything wrong and there has been no finding of ethical misconduct against me, but would remain on the Commission," wrote DeVougas. "Even though I felt I had been wronged in the situation, I wanted the Commission to move forward and get back to handling the very important issues we were and are facing. During that meeting, the mayor asked me to stepped down. Not because I had done anything wrong, but because 'the optics don’t look good.'"
On Wednesday, Barrett called on the FPC to look for new leadership.
DeVougas will be holding a press conference at 3:30 p.m., ahead of the FPC's meeting at 4:30 p.m.
You can watch the conferences live here.
Read the full letter below: