‘We’re not being believed:’ Milwaukee police chief voices frustration over unrest, procedure review

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MILWAUKEE -- Tension is rising at Milwaukee's City Hall among Milwaukee police, Mayor Tom Barrett and other city leaders over the review of standard operating procedures for law enforcement.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

On Friday, June 5, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales described the dangers law enforcement now faces at the following a week of unrest.

"People are trying to kill police officers. We have officers that are being followed home," Chief Morales said. "Law enforcement throughout our nation is being crucified. That's what they want.

"Why are our families now being targeted? You talk about crucify? What are we going to get by doing that."

MPD releases body camera video from standoff in which police said Molotov cocktail thrown by protestor

Objects including bricks, water bottles and, police say, a Molotov cocktail have been thrown amid the unrest. According to police, one officer was shot last weekend.

"I'm angry because a political figure approached me yesterday and said the rumor among us in the political group in the City of Milwaukee, we're told that that officer shot himself," said Chief Morales. "There was a person in a reckless auto that pulled out a gun and fired three shots at that officer. I'm angry because we are not being believed."

Chief Morales says force used with demonstrators thus far has been legal and within department protocol.

Video shows MPD officer's knee on neck of protester near 6th and Vliet

Video shows MPD officer's knee on neck of protester near 6th and Vliet

"There's several different groups out there protesting. There's peaceful protesters that are angry for what happened in Minnesota, and we get that. We'll work with that, but there's also people that are taking advantage to loot our cities, to burn our cities," Chief Morales said. "Make no mistake, throughout the nation, there's individuals or groups out there that want to burn a police station down."

Mayor Tom Barrett

Mayor Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett and other city leaders question if it's time for change -- some calling for a review of police maneuvers, including chokehold. Friday afternoon, Barrett announced the creation of a Commission on Police Accountability and Reform. The reform, inspired by former President Barack Obama, will review the police department's use-of-force procedures and, possibly, implement change.

"What will come out of this, I hope, is a very serious look at how we police in America, and I think that's very, very appropriate," said Barrett.

MPD released a statement Friday reaction to the new commission, saying:

"Over the past two years MPD has come extremely far in rebuilding trust with our diverse community and we will continue to do so. We look forward for ways to better serve all of our residents."

FOX6 News also heard from State Sen. Lena Taylor and other community leaders with the Black Lives Matter movement. Many said another commission is not the answer they are looking for and that city leaders already know what the problems are -- they need people committed to solving them.

Meanwhile, protesters march on.

Earlier Friday, Chief Morales visit residents and community leaders at Sherman Park, discussing how to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales meets with community leaders at Sherman Park (Courtesy: MPD)

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