Milwaukee Ex-Police Officer Escapes Indictment After Killing Unarmed Black Man
As nationwide protests against police brutality sweep the country following the non-indictment of the officers who killed Mike Brown and Eric Garner, another similar situation has taken place in Milwaukee. Dontre Hamilton, 31, was shot 14 times by then-officer Christopher Manney, a 13-year police veteran.
After an investigation by the police department, Manney was fired. It was announced on Monday (Dec. 22), however, that he would not face any charges in the killing of Hamilton, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
"This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community," Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm wrote. "But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney's use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime."
On April 30, Hamilton, who suffered from mental illness and was reportedly sleeping in the local Starbucks parking lot, was approached by Manney after store employees’ complaints. Not aware that Hamilton had already been deemed harmless by two other officers prior to his arrival, Manney proceeded to pat Hamilton down, and a fight ensued between them. Attempting to strike Hamilton with his baton, the blow was intercepted and led to Manney being hit in the neck. He pulled out his firearm and shot Hamilton 14 times thereafter.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Milwaukee questioned the non-indictment, citing that it states that no one is being held legally accountable for Hamilton’s death.
"If Officer Christopher Manney did not violate the law, then is anyone legally responsible for Mr. Hamilton's death?" the civil liberties group said in a statement. "Does the criminal law protect individuals like Mr. Hamilton from deadly force exercised by police officers? Are police officers above the law?"
The Hamilton family says he battled schizophrenia, and had been off his medication at the time he was killed.