The demoting of Chief Morales by the Fire and Police Commission tonight is a positive next step in providing the desperately needed accountability over the Milwaukee Police Department. In the Chief’s 6-month review this past July, over 300 Milwaukee residents voiced their strong displeasure over the Chief’s leadership throughout his tenure, as well his department’s handling of the uprisings in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. In their latest decision, it appears as though the FPC is making an attempt to listen to the community and provide some sort of accountability, but these actions alone are not enough.
The organizations signed on to this letter understand that the demotion of Morales is simply not enough to fix the deep, structural problems with policing that plague our communities. That is why we are demanding that the Mayor, the Common Council and the Fire and Police Commission commit to divesting from the Milwaukee Police Department and strengthening community oversight over the Milwaukee Police Department by:
- Community investment: A $75 million divestment from the Milwaukee Police Department and reinvestment into building healthy communities that can thrive. In accordance, $50 million must be allocated to fund public health and $25 million to housing cooperatives.
- Prioritizing community input in the selection of the next Executive Director of the Fire and Police Commission.
- Prioritizing community input in filling the remaining seats on the Fire and Police Commission with individuals that ensure strong community oversight.
- Immediately terminating Officer Mattioli for the murder of Joel Acevedo and the release of the videotapes and 911 tapes of the incident.
- Ensuring that the recommendations of the Community Collaborative Committee are heard and implemented by the FPC and Common Council.
The above demands represent what we believe are critical next steps for strengthening community oversight and accountability over the Milwaukee Police force. The community deserves to be heard, and we believe it is the duty of the local governing bodies named in this letter to make sure that happens. Furthermore, we demand the appointment of a police chief who promises to engage with the community, promote civil and human rights, and be transparent and honest with the public.