Fire & Police Commission votes to demote Milwaukee police chief over tear-gas use, other concerns

Milwaukee police need nationwide help in search for 2-year-old Noelani
Chief Alfonso Morales

MILWAUKEE (WTMJ) — The Fire and Police Commission voted on Thursday to demote Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to the rank of captain.

The commission announced during its Thursday meeting that it was demoting Morales after questioning how he handled multiple incidents, including ordering officers to fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death.

The demotion comes after Chief Morales submitted the first of his 11 directives ordered by the Fire and Police Commission. On Tuesday, Morales publicly explained why tear gas and pepper spray were used on protesters during the recent Black Lives Matters demonstrations in Milwaukee.

The chief’s attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, says Morales’ relationship with the commission has been deteriorating since he refused the chairman’s demand to fire an officer involved in the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown in January 2018.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he is angry about the board’s action and says Morales should have been given a chance to respond to directives issued by the panel.

Morales was reappointed as chief by the commission in 2019.