Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has fired two more Milwaukee police officers - one for obstructing a homicide investigation and another for showing his colleagues two topless photos of his ex-girlfriend - police announced Tuesday.
That brings the total of officers fired in the first week of May to four. At least one of the officers has appealed.
Flynn was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said he would comment Wednesday.
Asked if the cluster of firings was a result of a deliberate crackdown or change in standards, Michael Tobin, executive director of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, called the firings "a random course of events."
"The vast majority of Milwaukee police officers are dedicated, hardworking individuals," he said. "They are all separate and unrelated events, so I don't read anything significant into it."
So far in 2012, Flynn has asked for firings of five officers, not including a probationary officer, according to the Fire and Police Commission. Flynn requested that six officers be fired in 2011. Those numbers do not include civilian employees of the department, who are not sworn officers.
On Jan. 25, Flynn fired two other officers, Daniel A. Culver and Jovan M. Petkovich. This is the first time during Flynn's tenure in Milwaukee that he has fired five officers in a six-month period.
Probationary officer Danielle Scott, 22, who graduated from the Police Academy in March, was arrested late Friday on a state charge of obstructing an officer after allegedly providing false information to police in a homicide investigation, police said. She was fired Monday.
The case is under review by the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, police said. "I have lost confidence in her ability to serve on the Milwaukee Police Department," Flynn said in a statement.
Flynn has the discretion to terminate probationary employees without cause, the department said.
Scott had been a police aide since February 2009 and became a police officer in October 2011. No further information was available on the causes of her termination because the Fire and Police Commission is only involved with termination of employees who have the right to appeal to the commission.
Another officer, Sgt. Christopher J. Gull, 44, was fired May 2 from the technical communications division after 16 years of service.
According to a complaint, Gull inserted a flash memory drive into a department computer and showed a police aide two topless photos.
In an interview, Gull admitted to unintentionally showing a co-worker the photos on his personal laptop on Feb. 15 and again, on a department computer, on Feb. 28. On Feb. 27, he showed a sergeant more photos of the ex-girlfriend performing a sex act, the complaint says.
In an internal investigation interview, Gull admitted he showed the sergeant the photos because of "peer pressure and to prove his innocence about rumors that he fathered a child with her," the complaint states.
Flynn said in the complaint that Gull used department computer equipment for personal use and that "failed to be a role model."
The firings were announced Tuesday, the day after Flynn revealed he had fired another officer, Richard Schoen, 42, on May 1 for allegedly using excessive force on a 40-year-old woman arrested during a traffic stop in the 4100 block of N. 51st Blvd. about 9 p.m. Sept. 22.
"She became argumentative and used profanity, resulting in her arrest," Flynn said in a complaint to the Fire and Police Commission released Tuesday.
When Schoen and the woman arrived at the garage at the District 7 police station at 3626 W. Fond du Lac Ave., 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.
In an interview during an internal police investigation, Schoen said he heard multiple thumping sounds and thought the woman was kicking the squad door. He said he told her to get out, but she moved away from him.
"He admitted to delivering up to five reaction hand strikes, impacting her once to the left cheek, because he thought she was going to bite him," the complaint states. "Officer Schoen admitted to removing (the woman) by her hair because he wanted to control her head by turning it, and it was the only thing he could grab at the time. He admitted to delivering a knee strike to (her) stomach area because she was kicking in the direction of another police officer."
Schoen has appealed, but no date has yet been set for a hearing before the commission.
The woman was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor of resisting or obstructing an officer. That charge was later dismissed on a prosecutor's motion. The woman instead pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and was fined $30, court records show. The woman has previously been convicted of disorderly conduct in 1999. She did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to the three firings police released statements about, one more officer has been fired in May, according to records maintained by the Fire and Police Commission.
District 6 officer Yoron Whitfield was fired May 1 for allegedly driving drunk on Milwaukee's north side at 8 a.m. Feb. 4.
A complaint states he was off duty when he was stopped in the 4200 block of W. Fond du Lac Ave. and failed a sobriety test. He admitted he drank two shots of whiskey before he drove and a test showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.12, above the legal limit. Whitfield previously had been convicted of drunken driving in July 2011.
Firings ordered by Flynn
Below are the firings of sworn officers that were ordered by Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn during his tenure. The numbers do not include civilians and probationary officers. Some of the officers have since been reinstated after appeals.