Milwaukee police chief demoted over tear-gas use, other incidents

Milwaukee police chief demoted over tear-gas use, other incidents
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Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has been demoted to captain over the department’s recent use of tear gas during protests against police brutality on Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The move comes less than a year after Morales was appointed for a four-year term by the city's Fire and Police Commission (FPC). Assistant Chief Michael Brunson Sr., who is next in the chain of command, was named acting chief.

“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions," said Commissioner Raymond Robakowski, according to the newspaper. "Mr. Morales has failed the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, the people of the city of Milwaukee and he has misled me. And none of this is acceptable."

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The move came after a longstanding feud between Morales and FPC Chairman Steven DeVougas, the Journal-Sentinel reported. 

"Clearly there is a blood feud between Chief Morales and Chairman DeVougas," Mayor Tom Barrett (D) told the Journal Sentinel on Thursday afternoon. "And I think it’s all really bad for our city and they both should be embarrassed."

The commission voted to oust Morales based on several directives he made, including his decision to deploy tear gas at recent protests. At a Wednesday meeting of the FPC, the commission received a 26-page executive summary from the Milwaukee Police Department analyzing the directives.

"I am angry with what happened tonight," Barrett said, according to the Journal-Sentinel. “Chief Morales should have been given an opportunity to respond. At the same time, I understand some of the frustration because rather than responding to the directives, he spent two weeks on a (public relations) campaign and clearly that angered the commissioners, as well."