Fire & Police Comm. to meet with Chief Flynn for performance review

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission will meet with Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn Thursday afternoon, December 6th for a closed-door job evaluation. During which time, the commission will conduct a performance review.

Performance reviews are conducted every few months, however, with growing controversy surrounding Chief Flynn, much attention will be focused on this meeting.

In recent months community activists have hit the streets asking folks to sign a petition calling for Chief Flynn’s removal. This, amidst growing controversy surrounding the Milwaukee Police Department relating to the department’s handling of a number of high-profile cases.

The Milwaukee Police Department has been under fire in recent weeks — particularly as it relates to the death of 22-year-old Derek Williams. Williams died while in police custody in July 2011. Williams’ death was captured on a squad camera as he struggled to breathe for nearly 15 minutes without help.

MPD has also faced criticism as it relates to the department’s handling of the shooting death of 13-year-old Darius Simmons – allegedly by his neighbor (75-year-old John Spooner). Simmons’ mother claimed police mistreated her immediately after her son was shot — holding her in a squad car as opposed to letting her be with her dying son. A Fire and Police Commission report recently ruled the officers in this case did not break any rules in this investigation.

The controversy was further fueled after four Milwaukee police officers were charged for criminal misconduct related to illegal strip searches. The criminal complaint against the officers details several instances in which illegal strip searches were allegedly conducted. Many of the allegations began with a traffic stop, leading to a pat down and eventually what prosecutors say were illegal cavity searches.

On the heels of all that’s come to light in recent weeks, community activists say it’s time for action. Organizers say once collected, the goal is for the petition signatures to be delivered to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC).

Chief Flynn says changes are being made as a result of these cases. At this time, officers are being retrained on procedures and the department may adopt a new use of force policy in January.