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Milwaukee Common Council president calls for halting in selection of police chief

Posted at 10:53 AM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 18:44:41-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson is calling for the halting in a selection of new police chief, citing a "tumultuous year" for the Fire and Police Commission.

Johnson said the FPC has the chance to start the year "on the right foot by pressing pause on the selection process" and letting the current acting chief "exercise his ability in the post."

Michael Brunson had served as police chief until he retired Dec. 23. The FPC named Jeffrey Norman as the new acting police chief.

The FPC deadlocked in votes during the selection back in December between candidates Malik Aziz and Hoyt Mahaley. Aziz is a Dallas police major and Mahaley is an FBI special agent and native of Milwaukee.

Following the demotion of former Police Chief Alfonso Morales in August. In December, a judge reversed the that decision by the FPC. A legal battle continues between the Morales and the city.

“I just don't want to have the city to be in a situation where we have a chief that we select and then potentially some sort of turnover,” said Johnson. “That happens and then it's Morales again and then you know the Fire and Police Commission were to take some other action potentially on Morales and then we're back in the same situation all over again, I don't want to see that.”

In the meantime, FPC has been deadlocked in selecting a new chief. So Norman is suppose to hold the role of acting chief until a decision is made.

"2020 was a tumultuous year for the Fire and Police Commission. Among the notable events was the FPC choosing to demote Alfonso Morales from the rank of chief down to captain. As has been determined, this action by the FPC should not have happened without proper due process and as a result, by my request, the City’s inspector general is reviewing the matter to determine how this decision was made," said Johnson in a statement. "Furthermore, the FPC selection process for a new chief was defined by confusion, a changing set of rules around interviewing candidates in which sitting members of the commission did not cast votes that may have altered the finalist pool, the resignation of a member, and other challenges that have led to the commission remaining deadlocked on their selection. Those challenges are without mention of the legal challenge being presented by the former chief as well."

A judge reversed the FPC ruling to demote Morales in December, citing a flawed process on behalf of the FPC.

Prior to serving as acting chief, Norman was assistant chief for MPD.

The FPC Chair Nelson Solar said he would be making a statement in response to Johnson's proposal at the next meeting on January 7th.

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