Compiled by MCJ Staff
Just as they were quick to condemn the Fire and Police Commission, two city aldermen were just as quick to praise it for reversing an earlier ruling that reinstated a Milwaukee Police officer fired for hitting a handcuffed Northside woman repeatedly in the face.
Police officer Richard Schoen again finds himself out of a job and possibly facing criminal charges after the commission decided to uphold the original decision of Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn to fire Schoen for assaulting Jeanine Tracy in the back of a squad car while in the parking lot of the District 7 police station in September of last year.
The commission reversal comes a week after their initial ruling touched off a firestorm of criticism from community and political leaders who called for the overhaul or dismantling of the commission that oversees and disciplines members of the city’s fire and police departments and their respective leadership.
“The Commission did the right thing when it chose to review the decision regarding Officer Schoen,” said Ald. Milele Coggs in a statement released after the ruling.
Coggs, who last week called for either the restructure or elimination of the Commission and the laws governing its existence, noted the Commission discovered during its reevaluation that state law and Commission rules call for them to give greater weight to the chief’s original determination to fire the officer.
“They continued their deliberations with the revised information and concluded that Officer Schoen should be fired,” Coggs said.
“I applaud the Commission for doing the right thing for the right reasons. Now we have to help the city move forward and improve our police-community relations.”
Coggs suggested the Milwaukee County District Attorney take a fresh look at the case of Officer Schoen and explore the possibility of charges.
Common Council President Willie Hines, Jr. said the Commissions reversal not only holds Schoen accountable, but gives the community something to hope for.
“When officers get it right, we must applaud them,” said Hines in a statement.
“When officers exercise the kind of brutal disregard for regulations and human well-being displayed by Officer Schoen they must be held accountable.
“This ensures the protection of our citizens’ most basic rights, as well as the ability of the rule-abiding, vast majority of police officers to ensure residents safety.
“It is my sincere hope that this is only the beginning of a bigger movement toward accountability and transparency in our Milwaukee Police Department.”