Demoted Milwaukee Police Chief Seeks $625,000 In Damages

Morales Says Demotion Hurt Image, Future Earning Potential

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a press conference
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales speaks at a press conference Thursday, Feb 27, 2020, on the shooting at Molson Coors that left five people — including the gunman — dead. Megan Hart/WPR

Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has filed a claim against the city for more than a half million dollars after being demoted to captain.

Morales is seeking $625,000 in damages from the city of Milwaukee. He retired after being demoted last month by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

Morales’s claim says his reputation in the community was damaged and future career opportunities were lost. The former chief also says he was denied due process from the commission.

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By retiring, Morales leaves the department with benefits and a pension commensurate with his rank as chief. Still, he says he will suffer financial loss because his contract was through Jan. 8, 2024.

Attorneys for Morales said the city has 120 days to respond to the claim. If the city does nothing, Morales will file a formal lawsuit.

The commission voted unanimously on Aug. 6 to demote Morales, following months of outcry from the community including criticism for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death.

Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown.

Before demoting Morales, the commission issued 11 directives to the police chief, ranging from a community policing requirement to the implementation of the city’s mask mandate in the department, as well as a range of data requests.

During the Aug. 6 meeting, commissioners did not address the directives or allow Morales to speak before demoting him.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Fire and Police Commission could not immediately be reached for comment.