City leaders urge public feedback of police chief after officers clash with protesters

NOW: City leaders urge public feedback of police chief after officers clash with protesters

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Nearly half of Milwaukee’s Common Council members want citizens to weigh in on the city’s police chief.

This comes after some tense interactions between officers and protesters over the last few days.

Chief Alfonso Morales has an upcoming performance review by the Fire and Police Commission, which oversees the department.

Days of peaceful protests have, at times, turned into moments of confrontation between local authorities and demonstrators.

Now, the tactics Milwaukee police have used to maintain crowds and unrest are being called into question.

“The use of force that has been communicated to me by people on the ground is something that I think warrants being investigated," Alderwoman Milele Coggs said.

Alderwomen Milele Coggs, Nikiya Dodd and Chantia Lewis, along with aldermen Russel W. Stamper, II, Ashanti Hamilton and Khalif J. Rainey, are six Common Council members who say public input is critical.

Their joint-statement asked for citizen voices on the conduct of MPD officers and overall department policing strategy.

“In moments like this, moments of protest and unrest, there will always be high emotions, high tensions, but never is there a justification for a level of brutality or mistreatment of residents and citizens," Coggs said.

Alderman Nik Kovac is also calling out MPD after officers deployed tear gas and shot rubber bullets into a crowd of protesters Tuesday near 6th & McKinley.

"From what I saw, people were standing there when the police showed up in force, most of the crowd took to their knees," Kovac said.

MPD said a Molotov cocktail was thrown.

"But then you find out that the police clarified that there was one Molotov cocktail that didn't explode, and that happened after the police did their assault on the crowd," Kovac added.

Coggs also offered a strong message to those focused on crime and looting.

“In a protracted battle like this, you cannot give the enemy anything to lessen the value and importance of the fight that you’re having," Coggs said. “Lets never lose what the message is. The message is that we need some systematic change and some reform within the police department, police departments all across this nation.”

Milwaukee police responded to CBS 58 with this statement on behalf of Chief Morales: "I am committed to serving and protecting the residents of our community. I welcome the Common Council’s request to have members of the community provide their thoughts regarding my upcoming review. I believe the public should be allowed to provide feedback about any issues, questions, or concerns they have about all appointed and elected officials in the City of Milwaukee."

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