This story was republished on Jan. 4, 2022 to make it free for all readers
A leaked police interview set off more than a year of public infighting in Milwaukee, rooted in relationships and controversies going back years. The man police questioned, Kalan Haywood Sr., has repeatedly denied sexual assault allegations and has not been arrested or charged.
November 4, 2014: After losing consciousness during a date, a woman identified publicly only as Jane Doe believes the man she’s been seeing, Haywood, drugged her drink and assaulted her.
December 15, 2015: Carmen Pitre, executive director of Sojourner Family Peace Center, and Edward Flynn, then Milwaukee police chief, sign a “memorandum of understanding” that says suspects will never be interviewed at Sojourner.
February 2016: The new Sojourner building opens at 619 W. Walnut St. A company Haywood worked for helped with the real estate deal. Haywood and Pitre later discuss the possibility of Sojourner purchasing a building he owns across the street for a future expansion.
January 26, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown is tased and arrested after parking across two handicap spaces at a Walgreens in the middle of the night. Officer James Collins steps on Brown’s ankle and calls in to request overtime, singing, “Money, money, money, money!” Then he appears to fall asleep in his squad car.
February 15, 2018: The Fire and Police Commission names Morales interim chief. DeVougas casts the deciding vote.
February 16, 2018: Flynn, who previously announced his retirement, serves his last day as police chief, exiting nearly two years before his four-year contract ended. Morales takes over.
April 5, 2018: The commission authorizes Morales to hold the chief’s position through Jan. 7, 2020, the date Flynn’s term was set to expire. The city attorney later forces them to vote again, saying their first vote had likely violated the open meetings law.
April 17, 2019: Working with Milwaukee Police Lt. Erik Gulbrandson, attorney Jack Enea registers The Milwaukee Police Foundation, a nonprofit intended to raise money for area departments, with the State of Wisconsin.
May 7, 2019: The Common Council votes to give Haywood a $4 million taxpayer-backed loan to finance the redevelopment of a shuttered Sears store into a boutique hotel, the Ikon.
May 2019: The initial members of the foundation’s board meet for dinner. Haywood has not yet been recommended for a seat.
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Summer 2019: DeVougas and another Fire and Police commissioner speak with Morales before and after commission meetings. Morales later says DeVougas assures him he will be reappointed as police chief if he fires Officer Collins. Morales says DeVougas told him they need some “sacrificial lambs.” DeVougas denies this.
July 17, 2019: Haywood attends a Milwaukee Police Foundation meeting, although he is not a member. The foundation establishes its bylaws. Morales’ chief of staff, Nick DeSiato, is also present.
July 23, 2019: Doe reports to Milwaukee police that Haywood assaulted her five years earlier. She meets with Zachary Thoms, who becomes the lead investigator on her case.
July 30, 2019: Thoms presents Doe’s case to Assistant District Attorney Abbey Marzick.
Early August 2019: DeSiato learns from Marzick, whom he was married to at the time, that Haywood is under investigation. Because he knows Haywood is being considered for a spot on the Milwaukee Police Foundation board, DeSiato tells Lt. Gulbrandson, who is coordinating the creation of the foundation.
August 6, 2019: Thoms starts his vacation, which is scheduled to last through Aug. 13.
August 7, 2019: Marzick starts her vacation, which is scheduled to last through Aug. 12.
August 8, 2019: Griselda Aldrete is sworn in as executive director of the Fire and Police Commission.
Gulbrandson, who works directly for Morales, asks Sensitive Crimes Captain John Corbett to check the status of the case against Haywood. Corbett reports that the district attorney has been briefed but no charging decision has been made because a search warrant still needs to be executed and Haywood still needs to be questioned. Gulbrandson passes this information on to Morales.
Morales calls Corbett to inquire about the status of the case against Haywood. Morales later says he gave no directions or suggestions about how it should be investigated. Corbett later says Morales “wanted to keep the case moving.” He also says he can’t recall Morales ever calling him about any other case. Corbett was aware Haywood had been asked to join the board of the Milwaukee Police Foundation, which was scheduled to meet August 13.
Corbett receives an email from Inspector Terrance Gordon, saying the assistant chief who recommended Haywood for the board, Raymond Banks, wants to know if Haywood is aware he is under investigation.
Corbett tells Detective Steve Wells to interview Haywood. Wells later says Corbett told him he could do the interview at Sojourner Family Peace Center. Corbett said he didn’t make the decision. Both say they were unaware that a written agreement prohibited police from interviewing suspects there.
Corbett tells Marzick that Haywood will be questioned that day. She objects, believing the move is premature and could compromise the investigation.
Corbett and Marzick get on a conference call with Doe. A victim advocate from the district attorney’s office also joins the call. Corbett tells Doe the department plans to question Haywood in the next few days. Doe objects. When Corbett tells her it’s happening anyway, she begs that her name not be disclosed to Haywood, and later says Corbett agreed.
Wells contacts Haywood, who agrees to come in later that day. Wells quickly reviews Officer Thoms’ reports.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., DeVougas, chair of the Fire and Police Commission and Haywood’s real estate lawyer, arrives at Sojourner and speaks with Wells. Haywood arrives not long afterward. Wells questions Haywood, disclosing Doe’s name within minutes. During the two-hour interview, DeVougas interrupts at least 22 times. Haywood repeatedly denies the rape claim. To date, no charge has been filed.
Later that afternoon, Banks sets up a meeting between Morales and Haywood. DeVougas accompanies him. Morales asks Haywood to withdraw from consideration for the foundation board, and he agrees.
That evening the foundation board meets. Haywood does not attend.
Between August 14 and August 20, 2019: Captain Corbett gives a copy of Haywood's interview, which was audio and video recorded, to Lt. Gulbrandson. After reviewing it, Gulbrandson briefs Morales, including the fact that DeVougas was present.
August 21, 2019: Aldrete, the commission’s executive director; members of her staff and DeVougas meet to discuss whether Morales will be reappointed as chief.
Late August 2019: DeVougas schedules a meeting with Morales to discuss his reappointment. Haywood attends. Morales later says Haywood spent most of the time talking about irrelevant matters.
September 24, 2019: The Common Council votes 11-4 to provide a second $5 million loan for Haywood's hotel project despite a report from Milwaukee’s comptroller showing city financing carried significant risk.
Early October 2019: Doe meets with Thoms. She later says Thoms told her Haywood "wasn’t the only one who wanted the case to go away.” Thoms has denied he had been pressured by his superiors to close the case.
October 3, 2019: The Fire and Police Commission announces it will vote on whether to reappoint Morales before the end of the year.
December 2019: A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter receives nine pages of the 44-page police report about Doe’s complaint and a video of Haywood being questioned about her allegations.
December 4, 2019: DeVougas cancels a previously scheduled Fire and Police Commission meeting.
December 13, 2019: DeVougas publicly says there’s no rush to complete the reappointment process.
December 16, 2019: DeVougas says the commission will not take a reappointment vote at its next meeting, scheduled for December 18.
The Common Council confirms Raymond Robakowski’s appointment to the Fire and Police Commission.
The Milwaukee Police Association puts out a news release calling for DeVougas’ resignation, based on the fact that DeVougas accompanied Haywood when he was questioned about the sexual assault complaint.
The Journal Sentinel posts a story online about the ethical questions surrounding DeVougas’ choice to accompany Haywood to his meeting with a Milwaukee police detective.
Vice Chairman Nelson Soler emails all the commissioners except Robakowski to request a special meeting to vote on whether Morales will continue as chief. Because only the chair has the power to call a meeting unilaterally, Soler needs a second.
Aldrete forwards Soler’s email to Robakowski. He seconds the motion for a special meeting, which is scheduled for the following evening.
December 18, 2019: After a contentious two-hour meeting, the commission votes to grant Morales four more years as chief.
February 7, 2020: DeVougas resists a call from a fellow commissioner to take a leave of absence while Doe’s case is pending.
February 25, 2020: The Milwaukee Police Association files a complaint against DeVougas with the city ethics board.
March 19, 2020: The commission votes to hire Mel Johnson, a retired assistant U.S. attorney, to investigate who leaked materials to the Journal Sentinel and to determine whether interviewing a suspect at Sojourner was appropriate. Johnson decides to look into DeVougas’ actions as well.
July 2, 2020: Johnson presents his report, which suggests police rushed to question Haywood because Morales was considering him for the board of the Milwaukee Police Foundation. It also concludes that DeVougas likely violated the city’s ethics code by trying to use his position to gain benefits for Haywood. DeVougas denies this.
August 6, 2020: The Fire and Police Commission unanimously votes to demote Morales to his prior rank of captain. He soon retires and files a legal claim contending he was deprived of due process.
October 2, 2020: Doe files a lawsuit that asks a judge to turn over the investigation of her case to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Madison Police Department or another law enforcement agency with similar resources. She also asks the court to grant her full access to her case files and any related internal investigations.
February 2, 2021: Doe's lawsuit is settled. The Milwaukee Police Department issues a written apology and agrees to turn over the investigation to another agency.
February 9, 2021: Assistant City Attorney Peter Block tells the city ethics board's investigation committee that DeVougas is dodging service of a subpoena for his tax returns.
February 10, 2021: City Inspector General Ronda Kohlheim releases a report concluding the Fire and Police Commission did not adhere to state law, city attorney opinions and its own rule in its decision to demote Morales to captain.
February 15, 2021: DeVougas resigns from the Fire and Police Commission, which ends the ethics board's investigation of him for lack of jurisdiction.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee police chief, FPC fights, lawsuits, resignations: A timeline