An eight-month investigation ended Monday when a Milwaukee district attorney announced that the ex-cop who fatally shot unarmed black man Dontre Hamilton would not be charged. The Department of Justice announced the same day that it would launch an investigation into the case to determine if the April shooting could be prosecuted as a civil rights violation.
Officer Christopher Manney received a call about Hamilton sleeping on a park bench on April 30. Manney alleges that after the two exchanged punches, Hamilton hit the officer on the neck with his own baton, prompting Manney to shoot Hamilton 14 times. Examinations after the fact have cast doubt on the officer's version of the story, though. Manney was fired Oct. 15, but not for the reason you might expect. The police stand by Manney's decision to use deadly force with Hamilton, but condemned the actions leading up to the altercation.
Hamilton was being treated for schizophrenia when he died, and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said that Manney's judgment errors in dealing with a mentally ill person were egregious enough to excuse him from the force. According to Flynn, Manney went against his training when he patted down Hamilton, which could have escalated the situation.
This was not a call of a mentally ill man waving a gun. This was not a call of a mentally ill man threatening to kill other people. This was a check welfare call. There’s a set of training and approaches that you are taught, and you don’t go hands on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill.
After the decision was announced, the Hamilton family released a statement through their lawyer.
After waiting now for almost EIGHT MONTHS since Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed at Red Arrow Park by former City of Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney, the Hamilton family and their attorneys are extremely disappointed in District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision in this case. This is a case which cries out for justice, criminal charges against Christopher Manney, and accountability to Dontre Hamilton’s family.
Commenters took to Twitter to weight in on the decision.
Images: Facebook/Justice For Dontre Hamilton