He would rather be on the street and leading his officers in a more violent year than normal in Milwaukee, but Police Chief Alfonso Morales says he and his team are spending much of these days answering a series of directives required by the city’s Fire and Police Commission after a meeting this week about his job performance.
“We’re doing our best to do it,” Morales told WTMJ’s John Mercure in an exclusive interview. “I’d rather be out in the community (to) deal with the violent crime.”
His attorney, longtime Milwaukee lawyer Frank Gimbel, says the directives are deeply unfair and are created by a commission acting with “atrocious, bad behavior.”
“A renegade, vagabond group who don’t care about rules,” he told Mercure.
The directives span numerous subject matters and include full reports and audits of arrests of Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown in 2018 and the recent placing of activist Vaun Mayes into custody.
If Morales does not comply with the FPC demands, while meeting deadlines that stretch between next week and Aug. 6, he could lose his job, be demoted or be suspended.
Gimbel cited Monday’s FPC meeting, claiming the commission did not follow public notice requirements. He says they called the meeting to order, immediately read the document outlining his new directives, then immediately went to a motion to approve them.
“This group that calls themselves a public group is extraordinarily dysfunctional,” said Gimbel. “They are making up their own rules of play with their interaction with this good, hard-working chief of police.”
In recent days, the relationship between Chief Morales and Mayor Tom Barrett has come into question as well.
Morales said he last spoke with Barrett about the Democratic National Convention before the mayor’s recent vacation, and he did not say much about any challenges he has had with Mayor Barrett.
However, Gimbel explained that the mayor picks the members of the FPC, and he believes Barrett should be worried about how the commission is not following what Gimbel calls proper protocol in this case.
“From any perspective, the mayor has sufficient amount of involvement in the operation of that commission that he should be overly concerned about the appearances of rule violations going on in such a wholesale way,” said Gimbel.
WTMJ has reached out to the Fire and Police Commission for comment on this story.