MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee’s former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department.
The city’s Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.
Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. They were also critical of his decision to use tear gas and pepper spray against protesters who demonstrated after Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis.
Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he decided to retire because if he returned to the department as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would harm his pension payments.
“It would be foolish of me to stay and lose my pension or have that drop in pension,” Morales said. “The only choice was to leave.”
Morales also pushed back on commissioners’ statements the day he was demoted in which they claimed he had failed to work with them and lied to them and the public.
“The facts will come out. I did everything transparently, I was honest, and I really cared about the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, both sworn and civilian,” Morales said.
His attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, said he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.