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Milwaukee Co sheriff’s deputy was fired from MPD after domestic violence arrest

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//June 20, 2024//

Milwaukee County Sheriff Submitted photo

Milwaukee Co sheriff’s deputy was fired from MPD after domestic violence arrest

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//June 20, 2024//

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By Peter Cameron, THE BADGER PROJECT

A current Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy was arrested for domestic violence in 2021 when he was a probationary officer for the Milwaukee Police Department, an investigation by The Badger Project has found.

The Milwaukee Police Department terminated Christopher Romero Sanchez in September 2021, according to a list of flagged officers obtained from the state Department of Justice, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office hired Romero Sanchez as a deputy in February 2023.

Christopher Romero Sanchez, in a photo obtained from The Milwaukee Police Department

On September 6, 2021, Oak Creek police officers responded to a 911 call at an apartment in the city, according to documents The Badger Project obtained in a public records request. Romero Sanchez’s live-in girlfriend told the officers that while the couple had been out having drinks, their puppy relieved itself on the floor.

That led to an argument, which escalated to Romero Sanchez covering the woman’s mouth and nostrils when she yelled for help, she said. He also slapped her in the face and choked her, she told officers.

The woman’s name was redacted from the documents.

A “completely cooperative” Romero Sanchez told the responding officers that his argument with the woman was verbal only, according to the police report. But officers said they observed scratches on the woman’s cheeks, a cut on her lip, and “redness” on her neck.

The woman told officers that Romero Sanchez had been physically abusive in the past, including placing one of his handguns to her head. He told her repeatedly that she could not report him to police because it could put his law enforcement career in jeopardy, she said. And he had threatened to kill her and himself if she reported him.

The Oak Creek Police officers arrested Romero Sanchez and charged him with strangulation and suffocation, as well as battery.

On September 9, 2021, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office alerted the police departments that it had declined to charge Romero Sanchez, according to documents The Badger Project obtained in its public records request.

Asked how it came to that decision, the district attorney’s office said in an email that it “cannot say the reason why the case was not prosecuted as it falls under the attorney work-product doctrine.”

The attorney work-product doctrine protects attorneys from having to share material they generate while researching a case in anticipation of a trial. Domestic violence charges against the accused are often dropped when the victim refuses to cooperate with prosecutors.

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The Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the deputies’ union, did not respond to multiple messages via email and voicemail seeking comment and requests to speak to Romero Sanchez.

Asked why he was hired, James Burnett, a spokesman for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, noted that Romero Sanchez was never convicted and that charges against him were dropped.

“As a matter of law, this agency is not allowed to deny employment or consider an arrest when weighing an applicant’s fitness for employment, as arrests do not equate to criminal charges or criminal convictions,” Burnett said.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state. It currently employs about 250 sworn deputies, including Romero Sanchez, Burnett said. Deputies have a variety of assignments, but Romero Sanchez is a patrol officer, assisting other law enforcement. The sheriff’s office also employs about 200 correctional deputies who staff the county jail.

The total number of law enforcement officers in Wisconsin sits at record lows, as it has been slowly dropping for years. Police chiefs and sheriffs lament the declining numbers of people who want to go into law enforcement and the difficulty in filling positions with good candidates.

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

This article first appeared on The Badger Project and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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