When Robert Velez’s wife left their home to escape his abuse, he used his Milwaukee police training – and his badge – to track her down.
First, Velez connected his missing wife to the Exel Inn hotel chain. He initially showed his badge at the Wauwatosa location, according to court and internal affairs records. Lying to the clerk, Velez said he was working undercover, looking for a suspect.
The woman wasn’t checked in there, but the clerk located her in Oak Creek. She had alerted staff that her abusive husband – a cop – might come looking for her.
Nonetheless, the hotel desk clerk led Velez to his wife’s room, knocked on the door, and told her to open it. If she didn’t, the clerk said, he would use the master key.
Velez shoved past her into the room, where he found one of his fellow officers – whom he and his wife had known for about three years. Velez immediately began beating the man, telling him: “I’ll break your f—ing neck! I’m going to kill you!”
When his wife tried to break up the fight, Velez punched her in the face. He put the man in a headlock and dragged him down the stairs, the records say.
When Oak Creek officers arrived, Velez also fought with them. He repeated the lie about working undercover a third time and pulled back his black leather jacket to show the gun in his waistband, according to a summary of the internal investigation.
According to the report by Gina Barton of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Robert Velez was arrested for battery while armed, domestic violence battery and misconduct in public office as a result of his actions towards his wife and fellow officers in 2001, and those charges could have seen Velez sent to prison for 5 ½ years in addition to being barred from possessing a gun for the rest of his life.
Instead of being convicted of those charges, Velez was suspended from the Milwaukee Police Department for just six days, and Velez is one of at least 16 Milwaukee police officers disciplined after internal investigators concluded they had committed acts of domestic violence. What’s more, leadership within the Milwaukee Police Department leaders doesn’t follow national standards on how to handle accusations of domestic violence against officers. What’s more, Milwaukee Police Officers accused of domestic violence crimes are often with lesser crimes, if they’re actually charged with a crime at all.
The result of officers being protected? Those same officers who have abused their spouses or romantic partners are allowed to keep their jobs, carry loaded weapons and respond when women being battered by their spouses or romantic partners call for help.