911 call reveals details in off-duty MPD officer chokehold death

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- In a 911 tape that surfaced Thursday, Dec. 17, you can hear “let me go home” from Joel Acevedo.

Attorneys said that phrase came while off-duty former Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Mattioli held Acevedo in a chokehold.

“Joel’s last words in asking to let me go home was not a threat, it was a plea,” Joel's mother, Maribel Acevedo, said during a press availability with attorneys.

The incident happened on April 19, and Acevedo died from the alleged chokehold later that week. The call began with Mattioli calling 911 after a fight broke out at his house while he was hosting a party Acevedo attended.

Mattioli and a witness told police Acevedo had gotten violent.

“I'm at a police officer’s house, and this man is attacking us,” the witness said on the call. “The man attacking us, his name is Joel.”

“There was no reason whatsoever for him to take my son, and choke him the way he did," Joel's father. Jose Acevedo. said.

The audio contains plenty of swearing and what sounds like struggling. But body camera footage is not available as attorneys and the Acevedo family argued it should be.

Mattioli has sued to block that footage from coming out.

“Because the video tape is going to show more evidence, damaging evidence against him,” Jose Acevedo said.

The incident prompted Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa to look into MPD chokehold practices.

She was informed the department had an “unofficial ban,” and no longer trained officers to use them.

“Even though it’s an unofficial -- supposedly there’s an unofficial ban within the police department -- we need to make sure it’s a formal policy," Zamarripa said. "And at that point, I introduced the formal resolution.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission passed a partial formal ban on chokeholds Dec 10.

Mattioli has already resigned from MPD, but pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide.

He is next due in court in March.

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