Chief Flynn takes the stand in Manney hearing
Eleven months after former Milwaukee Officer Christopher Manney shot and killed Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park, he entered a courtroom to try and get his job back. Saturday was the third day in his hearing.
Smaller crowds gathered both inside and outside the courtroom Saturday. But Michael Bell couldn't miss it.
\"I need to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on here,\" Bell said.
Bell, whose son was shot and killed by Kenosha Police, helped Wisconsin create the law that forced an external review of Dontre Hamilton's death.
\"This case might get us to independent review to determine probable cause,\" Bell said. \"And that's a big deal.\"
Saturday, probable cause was back on the table as attorneys fought over whether Manney was justified in confronting and frisking Hamilton, which requires two things:
\"Reasonable fear that the suspect is armed with a weapon and can harm you or others,\" Milwaukee police Lieutenant Johnny Sgrignuoli testified.
Manney told investigators he thought Hamilton was homeless and suspected he was mentally ill. His attorney listed a number of cases where the officer had confronted homeless people in the past and found them armed, but Milwaukee police officers who reviewed the case say Manney couldn't tell them if he really believed Hamilton was armed.
City attorneys also questioned Manney's decision to confront Hamilton in the first place if he was considered a threat. Officers testified their training calls for maintaining control. They say more officers are attacked when the person is in a standing position. They say Manney increased his risk of a threat by asking Hamilton to stand up.
The Hamilton family and supporters nodded in agreement with most of police testimony but Bell knows they're concerned Manney could still win.
\"They've been disappointed in the past,\" Bell said. \"But I told them, I think something good is going to come out of this. I sense that.\"
Police Chief Ed Flynn took the stand late Saturday afternoon saying, \"There is nothing in that report to indicate Hamilton was committing a crime, that he was in possession of a dangerous weapon.He was not investigating a crime, there were no suspicions attached to Mr. Hamilton's behavior. In his initial response to charges he only said that he appeared to be a homeless man and they often carry knives.\"
Chief Ed Flynn stands by his decision to terminate his former officer, Christopher Manney. Flynn says Manney had no reason to pat down Hamilton, because the call to Hamilton's location was never even about a crime in 'action.'
Flynn says, \"So whether we chose to believe version one, which is I didn't have a reason to pat him down, except that he looked homeless, which is violation of our training and policy, or if we believe version two, I saw him I was afraid of him and knew I had to do something immediately, that was also in violation of his training.\"
But Manney's attorney fired back to Flynn implying Manney had different information when arriving to the scene because Hamilton was shaking he believed he was under the influence when he arrived.
Hamilton's family who sat patiently through the hearing agreed with Flynn.
\"I do have faith that what has been displayed will give us a win.\"
Flynn and the family agree, if officer Manney would have followed his training, Hamilton may still be alive today.
Hamilton's brother says, \"Dontre was not homeless, he wasn't a robber, he was just a human being taking a nap in the park that day.\"
Testimony will continue Sunday afternoon at 1 o'clock. A final day of testimony is scheduled for Monday afternoon. There has been no indication yet whether additional time will be needed.