Ex-Commission Member: Two Appointments to County Commission Are "Polarizing"

Mar. 5, 2023 3:30p; Updated on 3-6 to reflect that appointments are expected to be referred to committee. 

(WGTD)---The Kenosha County Board is scheduled to consider two appointments to the county’s Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission.

Unhappy with the selections, a former member of the commission describes the appointees as “polarizing figures.” 

One of the appointees,  A. Brian Gonzales, appears to be the former police officer Albert Gonzales who pulled the trigger in the Michael Bell police shooting, then wrote a book about it. The other, Xavier Solis, is a Kenosha County attorney who represented the foundation that raised bail for Kyle Rittenhouse.

County Executive Samantha Kerkman announced the appointments on Friday.

Shortly afterward, Commission member Brad Backer submitted his resignation. "These two individuals come with a huge amount of baggage when it comes to law enforcement," Backer told WGTD. "Both of them are extremely uncritical of Kenosha law enforcement."

Backer went on to say that anyone who believes there may be a problem with race and law enforcement in Kenosha County should be "insulted" by the appointments. 

Among its many tasks, the commission is trying to determine whether there’s a racism problem in law enforcement.

The county board will consider the appointments as early as Tuesday night, although it's expected that the matters will be referred to committe. 

In documents attached to the agenda, Gonzales, who retired from the police department last year, said he believes his life and work experience as a minority would bring a diverse perspective to the commission. Solis tells the county board that growing up poor and becoming the first in his family to graduate from college gives him first-hand knowledge of the struggles many minority families face.

Kerkman stood by her appointments over the weekend. "I remain confident that these new appointees will work through the process and will serve on the commission in a positive, productive way," she said.

Kerkman also thanked Backer for his service. 

In his conversation with WGTD, Backer predicted that additional resignations could be forthcoming.