They hit a photographer, threw a drink into the crowd, and shouted racist obscenities at them after officers Matthew Willman, the center, and a group of women who were with them testified as they walked away from the protesters. Latsha Lux was walking towards the two of them before snapping photos, before he could say Wilman stuck his camera in his mouth and screamed at it. (Photo: Courtesy of Attorney Nicole Molar)
The executive director of the ACLU in Wisconsin on Wednesday called on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to investigate recent protests between off-duty police officers and two photographers during a protest in the city.
Chris Ott’s statement called the Milwaukee Police Department’s initial response to the July split “a perfect example of why the relationship between police and the community has become so turbulent.”
It was because of the “apparent decision of the reactionary officers to hide the truth and provide false information” when they decided to cite the two photographers for their chaotic behavior, which was later dropped.
“It looks like a problem with the betrayal of the Milwaukee community and the culture of policing in Milwaukee,” said Executive Director Ott. “It seems the public’s concern about the officers’ behavior is not taken seriously.”
Milwaukee police have since launched an internal investigation into the split, which was caught on partial security cameras in the 1000 block of North Old World 3rd Street and how reactionary officers conducted the subsequent investigation.
The order, issued by Chief Alfonso Moreles, said last week that “many branches, including hundreds of discharges and long suspensions, have lied to any suggestion that the MPD unjustly protects its members.”
The request for comment from the Fire and Police Commission was not immediately returned Wednesday. The commission ended its investigation into the death of Joel Achevedo, who was killed in April after being kept in a 10-minute chocold by off-duty officer Michael Matioli after the MPD was instructed to close its own internal investigation.
Matteoli was charged in May with first-degree reckless murder.
The aftermath of the July 5 incident also included criticism that police tried to downplay it because it involved Matthew Willman, an off-duty officer.
According to the video and the witness account, a woman, including Willman, threw a drink at a nearby procession. Latsha Lux and Sean Kaffer were the two photographers when the woman approached and Wilman, Wilman removed their cameras.
Attorney Nicole Mueller, on behalf of the photographers, said Willman gave Lux a jolt and damaged Kaffer’s $ 700 lens. Mueller and police said they received citations for disorderly conduct, which was later accepted by the department.
Police said Willman was not suspended or placed on leave.
“It is incomprehensible that even after the photographers were attacked and their property destroyed, they provided quotes for disorderly conduct, although the officer appears to have survived the consequences,” Ott said in a statement.
Contact Elliott Hughes at Elliott [email protected] or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @Eliothuges12.
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