Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 7 News List

FBI to review Milwaukee case

POLICE URGE CALM:A police chief spoke out against people expressing the need for violence against officers after the dead man’s brother said to ‘get rid of these pigs’

AP, MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin

A police officer who was fired after fatally shooting a mentally ill man in April will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said on Monday, a decision that prompted a US attorney to later announce a federal investigation of the case.

Former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney will not be charged because he shot Dontre Hamilton in self-defense in April, authorities said.

Manney is at least the third police officer to avoid charges in the past month after a confrontation that led to a man’s death, including cases in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

“[Manney’s] use of force was privileged and justified,” Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said during a news conference. “On a human level, of course, it’s tragic ... [but] our job is not to tell people necessarily what they want to hear.”

After waiting eight months for the decision, Hamilton’s family reacted with disappointment and anger. At an emotional news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse, family attorneys said they had called for a federal investigation. They also urged that protests be peaceful “so as not to dishonor Dontre’s name and the Hamilton family name.”

However, Hamilton’s brother Nate spoke bitterly, saying the family had “cried too long” and “we don’t have to be the voice of reason.”

“We need to stop the violence in our communities so we can get rid of these pigs that kill us,” he said to shouts and applause. “Because that’s what they are. They feed, they feed off of us. And we can’t let them do that no more.”

Police chief Edward Flynn said he was disturbed by Hamilton’s choice of words.

“I would like to chalk it up to the emotion of the moment, but we don’t need people implying or expressing a need for violence against police,” he said.

Jon Safran, a Hamilton family attorney, later said Nate Hamilton does not condone “any type of violence” and the family was dealing with “great anxiety and frustration.”

Hamilton’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication.

Hamilton’s family has led mostly peaceful protests in the months since his death. They took to the streets again on Monday afternoon, with Nate Hamilton leading a crowd as it marched through intersections chanting: “Arrest the police.”

The group eventually dispersed without incident.

On Monday evening, more protesters gathered in the rain at the park where Manney shot Dontre Hamilton. Nate Hamilton told the group to remain peaceful because media outlets are looking to broadcast violence. That crowd left peacefully.

Hours after Chisholm’s announcement, US Attorney James Santelle said the US Department of Justice, along with his office and the FBI, will conduct a review to determine if there was a violation of federal civil rights law. Manney’s attorney did not return a message seeking comment.

Manney shot Hamilton, 31, after responding to a call of a man sleeping in a downtown park. Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punches before Hamilton got hold of Manney’s baton and hit him on the neck, the former officer has said. Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times.

Several witnesses told police they saw Hamilton holding Manney’s baton aggressively before Manney shot him, according to Chisholm’s report.

Chisholm consulted with police use-of-force experts, who concluded Manney’s conduct was justified.

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