Acting Chief Michael Brunson says there should be 'some resolution within the month' on Mattioli internal investigation

NOW: Acting Chief Michael Brunson says there should be ’some resolution within the month’ on Mattioli internal investigation

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) announced Wednesday, Sept. 2, they are withdrawing their investigation into the case of Officer Michael Mattioli, and will let the Milwaukee Police Department conduct an internal investigation. 

Mattioli was charged with killing Joel Acevedo. 

The news comes on the heels of the FPC demoting former MPD Chief Alfonso Morales and appointing Michael Brunson as acting chief. 

“This is an important and welcomed development that provides consistency and integrity, while safeguarding both due process and appeal rights,” said FPC Executive Director Griselda Aldrete. “Today’s development is a healthy step to ensure due process is protected and will move forward effectively, justice is served, and a strong relationship is rebuilt with the police department and the FPC.”

Back in May, the Fire and Police Commission said it sent notice to the Milwaukee Police Department saying the departments' Internal Affairs Division must immediately cease all investigations relative to Officer Michael Mattioli and that the FPC would be taking control of the investigation. 

On May 27, the Fire and Police Commission met to discuss the process of the investigation that would require a citizen complaint. At that meeting, Aldrete said a complaint had been completed that day. 

"One of the steps we had to complete was that the aggrieved person, the complainant, actually filled out a complaint that has been done as of today. We will be looking at the code of conduct, MPD has provided us with all the proper documentation for us to begin our investigation internally. I am putting two investigators on this, along with myself, to get to the quickest resolution possible.”

In July, the Fire and Police Commission announced that it had filed disciplinary charges for Code of Conduct violations against Mattioli and that there would be a disciplinary hearing. 

After the FPC took over the investigation in May, there had been calls for former Chief Morales to fire Mattioli, including from the Mayor. In response, Morales said that the authority to hand out any discipline to Mattioli fell on the Fire and Police Commission because they took over the investigation. 

In a news release, the FPC said it had affirmed the Milwaukee Police Department’s ability to conduct a concurrent internal investigation, as well as acting Chief of Police Brunson’s right to issue discipline while an FPC complaint investigation is underway. Since the complaint investigation has been officially concluded and charges have been referred by the FPC to Officer Mattioli, the Executive Director and the Board of Commissioners have made the decision to withdraw its disciplinary trial of Officer Mattioli and allow the Acting Chief to issue discipline as he sees fit.

"I, as an elected official, got varying responses from leadership around whether or not the chief could still fire Mattioli even though the FPC had the investigation. The Chief said he could no longer because the FPC had taken over the investigation, now we have the FPC stating publicly yesterday, saw the press reporting, the Chief has always retained the authority to fire Mattioli if need be, despite the FPC having the investigation," said Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, "This is what the public is enraged about is this, just livid about, it’s what I am livid about, and what is causing so much pain and agony as you can imagine for the Acevedo family. That’s why I put out that statement, and why I demand accountability."

In a statement Thursday, Zamarripa said it appears the FPC and MPD "appear to be playing hot potato" and giving the investigations back and forth. 

"I, like many Milwaukeeans, and I’m sure the family, I’m angry and frustrated that we’re continuing to delay justice for Joel Acevedo, the victim in this case and so I felt it was my responsibility to put out a statement expressing my disappointment."

Zamarripa, who also still serves on the State Assembly, said she has drafted a bill to repeal the infuriating practice of allowing law enforcement to continue to be paid and employed after being suspended and charged for a felonious act like homicide. 

"I’ll say that is very disturbing. The Acevedo family is very upset by that decision. There was a lot of faith that was imputed to the FPC to be a check and balance for the Milwaukee police department, I believe the City of Milwaukee maintained that same trust and and we expected the disciplinary action rendered by the FPC," said B'Ivory LaMarr, attorney for the Acevedo family. 

LaMarr said the disciplinary hearing for Mattioli that was withdrawn from the FPC was scheduled for next week. 

"A week or so before the date, the trial date, in which Mattioli was supposed to have those recommendations given, to hear it's going back to the Milwaukee Police Department is asinine," he said. 

He also said they were renewing their call for transparency and want body camera footage and the 911 call to be released. 

"I think there’s no proper justification to have the investigation be for three or for moths later, there’s no proper justification," he said. 

"We had a conversation and I decided to move forward with the investigation," said acting Chief Michael Brunson. 

Brunson says at the end of the back and forth, he believes the department should be the agency handling the internal investigation. 

"We should find some resolution within the month."


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