Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn announced the firing of three cops and a probationary officer over the last week, bringing the total cops fired this year to 5, according to the Chicago Tribune. Six were fired in all of 2010.
The most notable of the recent firings was of Officer Richard Schoen, for an incident of police brutality in September:
When Schoen and the woman arrived at the garage at the District 7 police station… the woman began to stomp her left leg on the floor of the squad and yell that her leg hurt, the complaint states. Schoen then opened the rear passenger door and attempted to pull her out by the bottom of her shirt. He then entered the rear passenger side and punched the woman two to three times on the right side of her face while she was handcuffed in his squad car. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the car. Once she was on the ground, he struck her in the stomach area with a knee, the complaint states. Probationary Officer Danielle Scott, who graduated from the police academy in March, was fired after being arrested for providing false information in a homicide investigation, Officer Yoron Whitfield was fired for driving drunk and Sergeant Christopher Gull was fired for showing coworkers naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend. At least one of the officers is appealing the decision.
Surprisingly, the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Police & Fire Commission, Michael Tobin, said he didn’t “read anything significant” into the spate of firings, while the police department cancelled morning briefings, going deeper into the bunker.
Nevertheless, the Milwaukee Police Department is under “the most sweeping investigation… in at least a decade” according to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, which also notes 13 former Milwaukee cops have been convicted of federal crimes in the last 7 years. At least seven officers (suspended, not fired) are under currently under investigation for potential sexual assault and civil rights violations stemming from illegal cavity searches. At least one defendant subject to an illegal search has already been released.
Sort of semi-related: Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett won yesterday’s primary to challenge Scott Walker in a recall election this June, triggered largely because of Walker’s efforts to rein in public sector unions. Milwaukee’s cops, like most in the state, were exempt from the Walker union law. It didn’t stop Wisconsin’s largest police union from endorsing Barrett anyway.