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MPD Chief, attorney challenge legal basis of FPC directives

Posted at 7:16 PM, Aug 06, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Hours before the Milwaukee police chief learned whether he got to keep his job at a meeting with the Fire and Police Commission, he and his attorney talked about whether the 11 directives given by the FPC are legal. They also discussed why they could take this fight to the courts depending on the commission’s decision.

Chief Alfonso Morales and his attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, weren’t holding back, and wanted to let the public know that the FPC’s actions could be illegal.

“There’s history taking place in our city and our nation, and to walk away from it halfway through, that’s not my personality, that’s not who I am, and I want to be here until the end and help fix that,” Morales said.

Morales said he’s committed to staying in his job, and fighting the violent crime that continues to plague the city.

“I would like to get back out in the community and work with our community in dealing with this,” Morales said.

Instead, he said at a time when Milwaukee has already surpassed last year’s number of homicides, he’s had to redirect his focus to responding to the 11 directives given to him by the Fire and Police Commission on July 20.

“These directives and the work that’s being done to complete this is removing the police department from doing what we should be doing,” Morales.

They’re directives that Morales and Gimbel continue to question.

In a formal response released Wednesday night, titled an ‘Executive Review’ to the FPC, Morales said the directives include, “factual errors, unclear requirements, very serious legal issues and a lack of due diligence.” He also called the directives “extraordinary in their breadth,” and that the FPC gave him little time to respond.

Morales said he wants to set the record straight that they’ve been doing their job and complying with the FPC.

“We’re hearing one narrative, and with that narrative, it could create a perception that is not reality,” Morales said.

“There’s not a proper factual or legal basis for them to act on any resolution relating to the job of the chief of police in Milwaukee,” Gimbel said. “When the directives were issued, the chief’s office solicited an opinion from the city attorney’s office asking them whether or not the directives that the chief received on July 20, were within the authority of the FPC to require the chief to respond to.”

Gimbel said to this day they haven’t received an answer.

Despite this, Morales said he’s responded to all but one directive, though he and his attorney didn’t believe the FPC had enough time to review his responses to the directives before taking a vote that could cost Morales his job.

“They would be making some decisions in a room with no lights on,” Gimbel said.

Depending on the outcome, they’re prepared to take legal action that could include suing the city. However, Morales hopes they can come to a resolution.

“We don’t want to do that. We want to be able to discuss things in a round table and be able to get our communication going again,” Morales said.

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