MILWAUKEE -- A longtime alderman and political opponent of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett claims that the mayor interfered in the investigation into a Milwaukee Bucks player after he was tased and arrested last week, a claim both the mayor's office and the outgoing police chief now deny.
Alderman Bob Donovan, who attempted to unseat Barrett in 2016's election for mayor, released a statement in which he cited sources accusing Mayor Barrett of "direct political interference" in the case.
"Sources tell me that Mayor Barrett – as early as Friday morning – asked to review the body camera footage of the incident, and then ordered that Mr. Brown not be charged," Donovan said. "If this is true, it is direct political interference in police work and is incredibly disturbing!"
Officers used a stun gun and arrested Brown, who allegedly double-parked in disabled parking spots at Walgreens on South 26th Street and West National Avenue, early Friday morning. On Monday it was revealed the police department would not refer Brown to the District Attorney's office for charges, and the matter would be referred to MPD's Internal Affairs division.
"This interference -- coming from a mayor who publicly claims he never sticks his nose into police matters -- is laughable," Donovan's statement continued. "It also begs the question: How many other times has this mayor interfered with police investigations, active cases or similar scenarios?"
In response, outgoing police chief Ed Flynn says that interference never happened.
“Although the Mayor was briefed in general terms about this incident, I never had a conversation with him or took direction from him about this case," Flynn said. "Although I appreciate Alderman Donovan’s knee jerk loyalty to the union’s position on everything, I would remind him that getting his information from the Milwaukee Police Association does not equate with actually knowing the facts.”
Mayor Barrett's Chief of Staff, Patrick Curley, backed up Flynn's account Tuesday afternoon.
“Alderman Donovan’s claims are absolutely false. Mayor Barrett was informed of the arrest on Friday morning and was later briefed by the police department. He has never seen the video. He absolutely did not put any pressure on the police in this case, or any case in the time he has been mayor. Alderman Donovan deserves a technical foul.”