Milwaukee Police Officer Charged With First Degree Reckless Homicide

Officer Was Off Duty When Fight At His House Party Resulted In A Man's Death

Lights on a police car

A Milwaukee police officer was charged Wednesday with first degree reckless homicide after a fight at his home led to a man’s death.

The officer, 32-year-old Michael Mattioli, was off duty on April 19 when a fight occurred during a party at his home near 45th Street and Cleveland Avenue. Joel Acevedo, 25, was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital. He died April 25 from his injuries.

Mattioli, a 13-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) was originally arrested and charged with first degree reckless injury and strangulation and suffocation. He was placed on full suspension from the department.

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On April 22, Mattioli posted a $50,000 cash bond and is not currently in custody, said Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern. His bail could be adjusted now that charges have been filed; however, a court date has not yet been set, Lovern said.

According to the criminal complaint, two Milwaukee Police officers were called to Mattioli’s house around 7:30 a.m. on April 19.

The officers found Mattioli straddling an unresponsive Acevedo with Mattioli’s “full body above the waist of (Acevedo) and Mattioli’s upper body is wrapped around the head area of (Acevedo). Mattioli’s left arm is parallel with the left side of (Acevedo’s) head and neck, and Mattioli’s left hand is holding (Acevedo’s) head and (Acevedo’s) face is down,” according to the complaint.

One of the officers asked Mattioli if Acevedo was breathing, and he responded that he didn’t know, according to the complaint.

During an interview with investigators, Mattioli said he held Acevedo down because he had punched his friend, according to the complaint.

Milwaukee Police did not respond to request for comment Wednesday.

During an interview with the Milwaukee Press Club on April 23, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said he was limited in what he could say, but wants to be transparent.

Morales said the Milwaukee County District Attorney Office, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, and MPD’s internal affairs department has been involved with the case since the beginning.

“When this is completed, I’m very confident the allegations and perceptions on how this is handled will come off as positive,” Morales said in April. “It’s a sad situation for both the person in the hospital (Acevedo had not yet died) as well as the person in law enforcement. The incident that occurred was in a person’s home, who happens to be in law enforcement. So this was all things that occurred off duty … We did our best to ensure the integrity of the investigation was done at the highest standard.”

The Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee is planning to discuss the incident on Thursday and the fact that the officer threw a party during Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order.

“We must continue to probe instances that call into question the conduct of officers and that speak to accountability and transparency,” Alder Nikiya Dodd said. “We owe it to the officers and to the community to bring the facts to light and to make sure our city is being served with the utmost in integrity and accountability.”