Black and Brown Lives Matter: Voces de la Frontera and allies demand public release of body cam videos and 911 recording in the strangulation murder of Joel Acevedo by an off-duty Milwaukee police officer
Voces de la Frontera joins with Joel Acevedo’s family in demanding immediate release of police body cam videos and recording of the 911 call in the case of the horrific strangling of Acevedo by an off-duty police officer, while being held down by two others.
“They don’t want to release the tapes because it’s evidence of the crimes of those three men,” said Maribel Acevedo, Joel’s mother, after a preliminary court hearing June 24, 2020, for Michael Mattioli, her son’s murderer, who is charged with reckless homicide.
She spoke at a rally outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse, sponsored by Voces de la Frontera, Justice Wisconsin, Liberate Milwaukee and a coalition of national Puerto Rican organizations [see their statement here].
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, told the crowd of two hundred, “We’re here to send a message to the judge, to Police Chief Alfonso Morales and to elected leaders that Joel Acevedo’s family is not alone.
“We demand transparency in this painful process so the public can hear the 911 call and the videos of what happened, and that the two other police officers who collaborated in Joel’s death be criminally charged,” Neumann-Ortiz said.
Also speaking were family members of other Milwaukee and Racine area men of color who were murdered by police: Dontre Hamilton, Tyrese West, Donte Shannon, Ernest Lacey and Alvin Cole.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the family of George Floyd and other victims of police violence nationwide, including the Acevedos, said the family has seen the videos and heard the 911 call. “They have no doubt it was an unnecessary, unjustifiable killing” by Mattioli and his two accomplices, Crump said.
“They choked Joel Acevedo even longer than they choked George Floyd,” Crump said. The tape shows him in a chokehold by Mattioli for more than ten minutes, he said.
Mattioli has been suspended from active duty but not dismissed. Neumann-Ortiz and the other speakers demanded he be fired from the Milwaukee Police Department, that his two accessories be charged and that Police Chief Alonso Morales be fired for refusing to terminate Mattioli and his record of non-collaboration with community organizations.
Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission is still investigating the case. Neumann-Ortiz said it was appropriate for them to do so rather than the Police Department, but also noted: “Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council can make the Commission stronger by filling the empty seats with people nominated by key community organizations with people of color, the LGBTQ community and others who are vulnerable to violence and discrimination.”
“Those who benefit from the existing system try to foment division in the community, and the best defense is unity and the coordinated struggle for equality.”
Mattioli’s next court appearance will be July 13, 2020.