Police commander who was shot in 2020 anarchy demoted for using ‘offensive language’ during training class

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LOUISVILLE, KY – A Louisville Police major, who happened to have been one of the officers shot during one of the riots in Louisville in 2020, was demoted to the rank of lieutenant for allegedly using offensive language during a recruitment class.

LMPD Major Aubrey Gregory has now been reduced to the rank of lieutenant, after police officials allege that Lt. Gregory had used offensive language during a recruit training session.

While sharing few details about the alleged incident, LMPD spokesperson Beth Ruoff shared the following: 

“On Tuesday, June 1st, as a result of offensive language used during a recruiting class. Major Aubrey Gregory was demoted to the rank of Police Lieutenant.”

Dwight Mitchell, another LMPD spokesperson, mirrored much of what  Ruoff mentioned, stating: 

“LMPD leadership has been made aware that the Training Unit commander may have recently used offensive, derogatory language during a training session.”

Police officials have not detailed what specifically these bits of “offensive language” were, nor was any context to the matter provided beyond the aforementioned. 

However, part of the statement released by Mitchell does imply that there may have been some degree of a usage of perhaps discriminatory language, as the spokesperson also stated: 

“The department is committed to accountability and promoting an atmosphere of inclusion and takes this allegation very seriously.”

Lt. Gregory was also placed on administrative assignment while this alleged foul language incident is looked into by investigators from Louisville Metro Human Resources. 

Back in September of 2020, hours after the announcement of there being no murder-related charges pertaining to the death of Breonna Taylor, then-Major Gregory was one of two LMPD officers shot during the riots and protests that ensued. 

In the days following the shooting, the officer recounted the experience with a local news outlet, citing how he didn’t even realize he was shot after hearing gunfire going off nearby: 

“And then the gunfire stopped…I put my hood back, took my hand off my gun, and then I realized that my hip was on fire.”

Obviously, Lt. Gregory recovered from his injury – and fairly quickly – returning to the force one week after being shot. His fellow officer, Officer Robinson Desroches, had a bit of a longer recovery after being shot during the same incident. 

While then-Major Gregory was out of the hospital by late September, Officer Desroches wasn’t released from the hospital until October 4th, 2020. It’s unclear whether or not Officer Desroches ever returned to duty following his recovery. 

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In other news pertaining to police demotions, a judge recently ordered a police chief be reinstated after he was demoted in Wisconsin. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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MILWAUKEE, WI- The former chief of the Milwaukee Police Department may be getting his job back in 45 days unless a settlement is reached between his attorneys and the city, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Such was the order of Milwaukee County Judge Christopher Foley last Wednesday.

Foley’s ruling came after former chief Alfonso Morales’ legal team asked the judge to force the city to put Morales back in his former position.

“If you can’t get it settled with the 45 days, then my order goes into effect,” Foley said when the hearing ended. “Put him back in office, make him the chief and away we go.”

WTOP News reported that Morales was demoted to captain last August after a series of racial justice protests as well as complaints of distrust within the police department.

However, Morales’ chief attorney, Franklyn Gimbel said that Morales’ relationship with the police commission had been steadily deteriorating after he refused the chairman’s demand that he fire an officer involved in the arrest of NBA player Sterling Brown, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks.

More recently, Morales was criticized by the commission for authorizing the use of tear gas to disperse rioters, while the commission also questioned how the department was policing black communities.

Morales was hired by the police department in 1993 and was appointed police chief in February 2018. After he was demoted, Morales decided to retire, however filed a lawsuit for damages. Foley then reversed the commission’s decision last December, however didn’t issue further instructions.

Nonetheless, Morales’ attorneys accused the city of delaying settlement negotiations, and failing to abide by the judge’s order. Meanwhile, Milwaukee city attorneys argued that since Morales retired after his demotion, it prevented his being reinstated as chief.

Morales’ attorneys petitioned Foley in April to enforce the order due to the city’s “months-long refusal to follow this Court’s order and reinstate Morales or, alternatively, propose a financial settlement and buy-out the remainder of his contract.”

In arguing for dismissal of Morales’ suit, Attorney Nate Cade, representing the police commission as well as the city in the case said his retirement prevented his reinstatement.

He also argued that Foley didn’t have the authority to reinstatement after his retirement, couldn’t comply with the reinstatement under the city charter, and said any such reinstatement could jeopardize the tax status of Milwaukee’s retirement plan.

Foley dismissed those concerns, saying that city officials used the illegal demotion and “coerced resignation” of Morales in order to prevent him from a legal result he otherwise would have been entitled to.

“Whatever problems there may be with the IRS, whatever problems there may be with the retirement system, I didn’t create those problems. The Fire and Police Commission created those problems by doing what they did,” Foley said.

Throughout the process, the city has acknowledged that Morales was denied due process.

After Morales’ retirement and subsequent lawsuit, there has been a lot of “finger pointing between the City Attorney’s Office and members of the commission” over who bears the brunt of the blame. In addition, the city has paused a current search being conducted for a permanent chief.

The Milwaukee PD is currently operating under its second acting police chief since Morales’ demotion. It is believed that any settlement with the former chief will be extremely expensive for Milwaukee taxpayers.

All of the ramifications were not lost on Foley, who acknowledged that Morales likely wasn’t anxious to return to his former position, nor did the city want him back in that position. However, despite what he called an “extremely untenable situation,” Morales was entitled to it.

However, one of Morales’ attorneys, Raymond Dall’Osto disputed that Morales did not want to return to his former position, noting he’s been anxious for months to get back to work.

‘We tried mightily over a number of months to move the ball forward, and it’s squarely in the city’s court to do so,” he said.

Morales was appointed chief in December 2019 and was given a four-year term. Dall’Osto said there have been some settlement discussions with the city, however Morales has not ever received a settlement offer.

“He is reinstated as of today, and I guess the city has the option of either talking or filing an appeal,” he said.

He also said the city never appealed the order Foley issued last December.

The Journal Sentinel said they requested a comment from the police department, however, were referred to the Fire and Police Commission. Meanwhile neither the city attorney, nor a spokesman for the mayor would comment on the ongoing legal case.

Last week, Foley wrote to both sides of the dispute, telling them he wants to achieve “final resolution so the parties and this community can move beyond this unsettling dispute.” He ordered them to have a draft resolution in place prior to Wednesday’s hearing.

“Absent that I think it’s fair to assume this court will establish a short timeline in which resolution would be achieved by court order,” Foley wrote.

Morales’ situation has been complicated by apparent turmoil in the City Attorney’s Office, with more than a dozen staff members leaving the office in just over a year since City Attorney Tearman Spencer was sworn in.

One of those includes Assistant City Attorney William Davidson, who was one of the attorneys representing Milwaukee in the Morales case. Davidson tendered his resignation and was to leave city employment as of May 14. He cited the “current atmosphere within the City Attorney’s Office” as one of his reasons for leaving.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee continues to be run by an interim chief.

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