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'Not Good Government': Milwaukee Police Chief Demoted Over Use of Tear Gas

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The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission demoted the city’s police chief on Thursday over his handling of protests and the department’s treatment of minorities during his tenure, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted to the rank of captain by the civilian commission, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Morales has not ruled out suing the city over the decision, according to his lawyer.

“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions,” Commissioner Raymond Robakowski, a former Milwaukee police officer, said during the private meeting, video of which was leaked to the Journal Sentinel.

“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.”

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The commission recently demanded public explanations for the Milwaukee Police Department’s use of tear gas and for specific investigations the department was conducting, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Morales responded to the request in a statement on Tuesday. Police officers used tear gas six times during more than 100 protests, according to the statement.

The department also released a video on Tuesday in which Assistant Chief Michael Brunson explained each individual use of tear gas.

Should Morales have been demoted?

“The Milwaukee Police Department has absolutely no problem with peaceful protesters and we do not use chemical irritants toward peaceful protesters,” Brunson said.

“We encourage people to exercise their rights, but we want them to do it within the confines of the law.”

Mayor Tom Barrett said the police commission’s decision was “not good government,” according to the Journal Sentinel.

“I think it’s all really bad for our city,” Barrett said.

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“I want to thank Alfonso Morales for his nearly 27 years of service and dedication to the City of Milwaukee,” Brunson, who was named acting police chief, said Thursday in a statement.

Morales joined the the police department in 1993, was appointed chief in February 2018 and was reappointed to a four-year term in December 2019, NBC News reported.

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