Judge reverses demotion of former police chief Alfonso Morales

NOW: Judge reverses demotion of former police chief Alfonso Morales

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A judge on Friday reversed the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission's decision to demote former police chief Alfonso Morales.

Morales retired following his demotion to captain in August and filed a claim against the city and FPC. The city later admitted that Morales did not receive due process.

Friday's ruling reinstates Morales to chief. The ruling says he's been chief all along and could theoretically go back to work immediately.

Morales' attorney, Frank Gimbel, says they are already looking at what happens next.

"I'm going to have to have a conversation with somebody -- with somebody in authority in the city government -- about how we're going to essentially relate to the judge's decision effective Aug. 6," he said.

But it's not going to be easy.

On Thursday, Dec. 17, the FPC voted to promote Asst. Chief Jeffrey Norman to acting chief, with the current acting chief, Michael Brunson, preparing to retire. 

The FPC is still deadlocked on two candidates in the running for a permanent replacement, something that doesn't concern Morales' attorney. 

"It probably matters to them. It doesn't matter to me," he said. "They put themselves in this position by their arrant ways and they better figure out their exit strategy."

Gimbel says it wouldn't be easy for the FPC to simply demote Morales again, either. He says they've lost jurisdiction over his prior actions.

"Assuming that he went back to work tomorrow, they couldn't start another removal proceeding, because anything he might have done prior to taking this action on Aug. 6 is erased," Gimbel said. "I would say Chief Morales is driving this car right now."

When asked for comment, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he will continue to work with the city attorney's office.

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