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Steven DeVougas resigns from Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission amid ethics investigation

Steven DeVougas
Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 21:22:29-05

MILWAUKEE — The former chairman of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, Steven DeVougas, submitted his letter of resignation from the FPC on Monday.

DeVougas' resignation comes after the city's Ethics Board launched an investigation into DeVougas and a prominent real estate developer DeVougas is connected to. The investigation surrounds a video showing developer Kalan Haywood Sr. being questioned by Milwaukee police officers about an alleged sexual assault.

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The video shows DeVougas, who also works as an attorney, 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 investigation is also pursuing allegations on whether it was appropriate for the MPD to interview Haywood Sr. and whether the interview violated any department rules.

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Last week, the city's Ethics Board chose an investigator to look into the allegations.

Current chairman Nelson Soler replaced DeVougas as the board's chairman last year. DeVougas remained on the board, until Monday.

"It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Milwaukee in this capacity," DeVougas writes in his letter of resignation. "I am proud of the Commission's work during my almost eight-year tenure. However, it is time that I conclude this chapter of my service to our great city. For me, this position has always been about the work and the people. I have kept this as my primary focus as I have served in my role.

The former chairman continues:

"Although we are not perfect, I have found my fellow Commissioners to be dedicated civil servants. We may have differences of opinion, but we are generally cordial and have a professional and collegial relationship. We have open and honest conversations about the decisions we make and how we get there. I have never met a group of people so dedicated to doing the right thing the right way. However, what I have seen is a concerted effort by various entities and individuals to undermine the credibility and the authority of the FPC. The “powers that be” benefit from weakening the Commission. They do not want us to push for change and to hold people accountable."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement:

“Commissioner DeVougas’ resignation was appropriate. Everybody understands that the Fire and Police Commission has had some legitimate problems. Now is the time for the Commission to turn the page to the next chapter in thoughtful oversight and change that is taking place in the department.”

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