Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission make controversial call to reinstate officer

CREATED Dec 5, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - Disturbing video shows Milwaukee Police officer Richard Schoen punching Jeanine Tracy in the head and pulling her hair in the back of his squad car.

Police Chief Ed Flynn fired him for his actions.

But this week, a Fire and Police Commission panel said not so fast, and put Schoen back on the police beat.

"They got it wrong," said Alderman Willie Hines, who can't believe the decision.

If I were to do that or anyone were to do that against anyone, that would be assault charges, and the officer assaulted Ms. Tracy.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office told TODAY'S TMJ4 they got the case last year and they also consulted with the U.S. Attorneys office.

Both decided that no criminal activity took place.

One of three commission panel members voted to fire Schoen.

The others voted to suspend him for 60 days.

Neither returned TODAY'S TMJ4's calls.

"I think it sends a bad message both to the community and to the members of the Milwaukee Police Department," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  

"This type of behavior should not be tolerated."

Barrett backs the chief's call and thinks the commission should have, too.

"They've got a difficult job and they're making some difficult decisions, but i think this is a case where they got it wrong," said Barrett.

Some believe the decision was so wrong, they're wondering where the commission goes from here.

"Now is definitely a time to reevaluate their duties, their responsibilities," said Hines.

The commission has about a week to submit a written report on their decision.

According to the mayor's office, they had not done that as of Wednesday night.