MILWAUKEE (AP) — A suspended Milwaukee police officer has pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide in the death of a man during a fight at the off-duty officer’s home in April.
Attorneys for Michael Mattioli entered the plea during an arraignment held virtually Tuesday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The 32-year-old officer is accused of using a chokehold on Joel Acevedo during the fight causing his death six days later.
Defense attorney Michael Hart says Mattioli will argue self-defense.
Police were called April 19 to Mattioli’s home in Milwaukee and found him straddling Acevedo, who was on his stomach and not breathing and did not have a pulse, according to the criminal complaint.
Mattioli told an investigator from the district attorney’s office he had some people over for drinks and woke up to find Acevedo going through his pants pockets, so he told Acevedo to get out of his house. Mattioli said Acevedo denied stealing and punched another man as he left, and Mattioli got on top of him and called 911.
In addition to the charge against Mattioli, Acevedo’s family filed a lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department, demanding body-cam video and the recording of the 911 call.