Milwaukee Officer Killed In Line Of Duty Laid To Rest Wednesday

Thousands Attend Memorial Service For 52-Year-Old Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski

Michael Michalski
The hearse carrying the body of Milwaukee police officer Michael Michalski passes the Milwaukee Police Administration Building in downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Thousands of people came together to honor the life of a Milwaukee police officer killed in the line of duty.

The memorial service for Michael Michalski was held Wednesday afternoon at the Assembly of God church in suburban Oak Creek.

During the service, his son, 19-year-old John Michalski, told the audience that his father took a down-to-earth approach.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“He never went into work seeking to be this great hero for everyone to love and admire, and he never acted around others as though he was of some higher importance,” John Michalski said at the memorial. “He went about his business with the goal of doing what he signed up to do, work hard, come home and treat those around him with the same love and generosity that they showed to him.”

Michael Michalski. Photo courtesy of Carol Starr via Milwaukee Police Department Facebook page

Others speaking at the funeral included Michael Michaski’s sister, Pat Michaels, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker called Michalski “a hero not just for how he died, but for how he lived.”

The 52-year-old officer was shot and killed by a suspect as police tried to make an arrest a week ago.

Following the service, dozens of law enforcement agencies escorted Michalski’s body from the church, past Milwaukee police headquarters to Wisconsin Memorial Park where he was laid to rest.

Among those paying their respects to Michalski was Lepa Munns, a court reporter at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Munns said she had to come see the procession.

“I work with officers all the time because I work in the court system, and I just feel terrible for what happened to him. I feel like I know him, even though I don’t know him,” Munns said.

Munns said more people should honor law enforcement.

“I think law enforcement is just treated so badly sometimes, and they don’t deserve it,” Munns said.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers took part in the procession from around Wisconsin and from as far away as California. In downtown Milwaukee, they passed the damaged squad car in which another officer died during a police chase earlier this summer.

Prior to the memorial, park crews placed large United States flags around the grounds ahead of the interment. Michalski, a 17-year department veteran, is survived by his wife and three sons, WPR previously reported.

Michalski had been assigned to the Special Investigations Division in the department, a unit tasked with addressing the city’s worst offenders, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales previously said.

Prosecutors allege a man fatally shot Michalski in the back of the head. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged 30-year-old Jonathan Copeland Jr. with first-degree intentional homicide in Michalski’s death.

Copeland also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for shooting at two other officers. Those officers were not hit.

According to a criminal complaint, police went to a home on Milwaukee’s north side last Wednesday to arrest Copeland on a warrant for felony drug crimes. Michalski went up a rear stairwell when Copeland allegedly ambushed the officer.

The complaint says Copeland leaned out a window and fired at another officer. One officer returned fire, and Copeland threw his empty pistol to the ground and surrendered.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:43 p.m. Wednesday, Aug.1, 2018 to include quotes from the procession.