Decision to terminate Milwaukee officer charged in Joel Acevedo's death is up to FPC
A statement from the Milwaukee Police Department says as of May 19, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission is the only entity that has the authority to terminate the officer for his off-duty actions.
Officer Mattioli, a 13-year member of the department, was charged in the death of 25-year-old Acevedo. Investigators say the two were involved in an altercation at Mattioli's home on April 19 -- who was off-duty at the time -- and Acevedo was left unconscious. Acevedo died less than a week later.
Here's a breakdown of events from Milwaukee police:
On April 19, 2020, the day this incident occurred, MPD took extraordinary steps to maintain the integrity of the investigation while keeping the trust of the community. Prior to arriving at the scene on the morning of the incident, Chief Alfonso Morales had already requested that the criminal investigation be handled by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office to avoid any appearance of bias. In addition, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, an outside and independent agency, conducted the crime scene investigation. That same day, Officer Mattioli was arrested.
On May 13, 2020, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office issued a criminal complaint for 1st Degree Reckless Homicide charges against Mattioli. The Milwaukee Police Department immediately requested the investigatory materials. Until receiving those investigatory materials, MPD could not fully conduct its internal investigation.
On May 19, 2020, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission issued a press release stating it had informed MPD “to cease all current investigations regarding Officer Mattioli, and that my Office [FPC] will be taking control of the investigation moving forward.” MPD immediately ceased its internal investigation and provided the FPC its requested documents.
According to a news release, MPD says they understand the community is seeking immediate resolution of Officer Mattioli's employment matter given these extraordinary times.
The release goes on to say, "However, per state law, no member of MPD may be discharged or suspended for more than 30 days without the Department first finding just cause. In order to determine if there was just cause, MPD could not render discipline until the criminal investigation was completed and the investigatory materials were provided to the Department. MPD was actively investigating the internal investigation, and awaiting additional investigatory materials, at the time the Fire & Police Commission took over this disciplinary matter."