Prosecutors charged a Milwaukee police officer Wednesday with first-degree reckless homicide, accusing him of fatally choking a man during a fight at the off-duty officer’s home.
Michael Mattioli, 32, was charged Wednesday, more than two weeks after 25-year-old Joel Acevedo died of asphyxiation.
Police were called April 19 to Mattioli’s home in Milwaukee and found him straddling Acevedo, who was on his stomach and not breathing and did not have a pulse, according to the criminal complaint. Police said Mattioli apparently had Acevedo in a choke hold. The victim died six days later at a hospital.
Mattioli told an investigator from the district attorney's voice he had some people over for drinks and woke up to find Acevedo going through his pants pockets, so he told Acevedo to get out of his house. Mattioli said Acevedo denied stealing and punched another man as he left, and Mattioli got on top of him and called 911.
Mattioli denied suffocating Acevedo, the complaint said.
“I didn't suffocate the guy. I had my arms around his neck yes, and I held him there but I didn't suffocate the guy. I didn't press hard enough,” Mattioli told the investigator.
Defense attorney Michael F. Hart said Mattioli will argue self-defense.
“Officer Mattioli has the same right as anybody else to defend himself and others, particularly in his own home,” Hart said Wednesday.
A first court appearance has not been set. Mattioli, a 13-year police veteran, posted $50,000 bail about three weeks ago and was released from Milwaukee County Jail.