Milwaukee Police Chief Morales Must Go

The following is a statement from Voces de la Frontera on why Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales must be fired:

Voces de la Frontera stands with the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP, Justice Wisconsin and other organizations and families affected by police brutality to call on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) to fire Police Chief Alfonso Morales. 

There are two core reasons why Voces de la Frontera wants Morales replaced. First, he refuses time and time again to show any understanding of meaningful community engagement. Second, he has lost his credibility by repeatedly falsely claiming that actions are outside of his power when in reality he is just failing to do his job and failing to protect Milwaukee communities of color. 

Voces de la Frontera, as a primarily Latinx organization, had hoped that Chief Morales’s background and experience would mean he would use his leadership to engage the community on important civil rights issues impacting Latinx, immigrants, refugees and other communities of color. 

But that has not been the case. 

Voces has tried a number of times, without success, to engage with Morales and his representatives. We’ve pressed on such issues as police cooperation with federal immigration agencies and police violence against people of color. Other organizations report similar rebuffs from Morales. 

Morales initially denied the need for stronger due process protections in the standing operating procedures between the MPD and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claiming there was no cause for concern. 

But the need for stronger policies was caught on video when a family called the Voces Emergency line in September 2019. The family, parked in their car, was being surrounded by ICE and Milwaukee police as they were getting ready to drop off the kids at school. 

Morales later resisted Voces’ successful effort to change official police procedures in order to ban police/ICE cooperation without a judge’s warrant. 

Morales resists accountability for Milwaukee police involved in violence against people color. He should have fired Officer Michael Mattioli. Mattioli is charged with reckless homicide but remains on the payroll while the process drags out through the FPC. Morales likewise refuses to release videotapes and 911 tapes of the incident, though they are public documents.

Most recently, Morales has overseen police attacks on lawful protesters, at a historic moment for challenging institutionalized racism. We live in one of the most segregated cities in the country and we have a police force that has spent millions of dollars on lawsuits because there is a lack of accountability on issues of racial profiling, abuse, and police brutality. 

A police chief must engage with the community, promote civil and human rights, and be transparent and honest with the public. Chief Morales fails the test and therefore must step down.