Police officer who shot Dontre Hamilton is fired
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn announced he signed an order to terminate the police officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton on April 30, 2014. It's a move that drawing sharp criticism from a local alderman and the police union. The Hamilton says their fight for justice isn't over.
Chief Flynn started his new conference by laying out the details of the day Dontre Hamilton was killed. According to Flynn, police officers were dispatched to Red Arrow Park at the request of a Starbucks employee. Officers responded to Red Arrow Park at 1:52 p.m. and 2:09 p.m. to conduct a welfare check on Dontre Hamilton. The Chief says Hamilton was laying or sleeping on the sidewalk near Starbucks. Chief Flynn stressed that these two interactions with Hamilton resulted in no physical contact with him, and officers found no cause for additional police action.
Police Officer Christopher Manney, a beat officer working the downtown area, responded to the original call from Starbucks employees at 3:20 p.m. Chief Flynn says Manney had no idea officers already responded to Starbucks for a welfare check on Dontre Hamilton. Unlike the officers who already responded, Manney treated Hamilton as a dangerous criminal. Chief Flynn points out this treatment of Hamilton goes against the training Manney received on how to deal with an emotionally disturbed person. The chief points out this error in judgment led to the unfortunate death of Dontre Hamilton.
In a statement read to the media, Chief Flynn says the pat down given by Manney lead to a physical confrontation with Hamilton. Both men punched each other repeatedly, then Manney used his baton to subdue Hamilton. According to the chief, Hamilton took that baton from Officer Manney and began beating him with it. That's when Manney pulled out his gun and shot Hamilton several times. Hamilton died at the scene.
Chief Ed Flynn says the officer's decision to fire shots at Hamilton was justified, and is only firing Manney for acting against his training. \"We have a series of decision by Officer Manney that resulted in taking of a human life\", says Flynn. \"While I find errors in judgment used by Officer Manney, there was no malice in his decisions.\" While taking questions Chief Flynn told reporters, \"He should have known better\".
The chief stressed that as a professional organization, the Milwaukee Police Department needs to hold itself accountable for mistake made in the field. The Chief says by firing Manney for his violation of policy, the department is doing just that.
Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan says, \"This entire matter reeks of politics\". The alderman says it's hard to believe this firing took pace without an official report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and no charging decision from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office. In accordance with state law the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating this officer-involved shooting.
The Milwaukee Police Association calls the decision to fire Manney \"cowardice and certainly unfounded and unsupported by fact\". Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello says the officer who shot and killed Hamilton \"expressed concern and compassion for the family\" of Hamilton.
The Hamilton family responded to the chief's news conference vowing to continue demonstrations. The family told CBS 58 they are not satisfied with the officer's firing. Dontre Hamilton's mother says she won't grieve for her son's death until Christopher Manney is in jail.
Dontre Hamilton's brother Nathan wants the police department to release the picture of Christopher Manney instead of just naming him.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn told reporters, \"We don't need to demonize this officer to hold him accountable.\"
Nathan Hamilton says he'd like to see an agency outside of Milwaukee County consider criminal charges for Manney. He told reporters he doesn't trust an agency that regularly works with the Milwaukee Police Department.