Police officer, Christopher Manney was fired for the fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee, WI. Mr. Hamilton was approached by Mr. Manney on Apr. 30 after receiving a complaint call from a Starbucks’ worker. The call has been termed “a well-being check” or welfare check. Hamilton had been sleeping in Red Arrow Park located in downtown Milwaukee. The shooting sparked outrage and protests in the diverse mid-western city.
Two other officers had contact with Mr. Hamilton prior to ex-officer Manney and found he had done nothing wrong. Mr. Manney, unaware of this fact, approached Hamilton again regarding the welfare check. Mr. Donte Hamilton suffered with mentally illness. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The illness causes a person to lose touch with reality. Police Chief Flynn stated Manning did not abuse force when he shot Hamilton 14 times but he did not follow departmental rules prior to the shooting.
Mr. Manney had profiled Hamilton to be dangerous based on observations of apparent mental illness, without overt actions from Mr. Hamilton, the chief stated to clarify the reason for termination. According to Chief Flynn had Christopher Manney followed his training and the outcome been benign, the police department would have been looking at a training issue. The chief admitted outcomes matter. According to Chief Flynn, Manney should not have frisked Hamilton. He stated the pat down was the cause of the confrontation, which led to Hamilton’s death. Tragically, Mr. Hamilton was not given the opportunity to leave or provided assistance with his housing issue. The black man living in a downtown park had his misfortunes compounded by the nuisance call.
Mr. Hamilton’s family launched numerous protest marches with the help of the Coalition for Justice. Hamilton’s brother is demanding criminal charges against ex-officer Manney and says the demonstrations will continue until then. The mayor of Milwaukee has agreed to the firing of police office in fatal shooting. Alderman Bob Donovan stated the termination was premature due to District Attorney Chisholm not having made a final decision to file criminal charges. Christopher Manney has the right to appeal the termination to the civilian Fire and Police Commission.
Manney was not one of the officers who attended a 40 hour course on crisis intervention approximately 20 percent of the Milwaukee Police Department has attended. He had taken a 3-hour class on the topic. Milwuakee is now offering a 16-hour mental health component for 1,400 officer who have not taken the crisis intervention training. These courses are designed to help officers recognize and assist citizens regardless of incapacity or disability.
MPD Chief Flynn applauded for his decision by the head of the Civil Liberties Union is Wisconsin, Mr. Chris Ahmuty. He stated it was the beginning improving community relations in Milwaukee. Mr. Ahmuty also took notice of the reason Chief Flynn decided to fire the Milwaukee police for initiating the physical contact that led to the shooting. Yet, the police union is backing the officer and have expressed their disagreement with him being fired in connection with the fatal shooting that occurred in Milwaukee.
By Oliver L. Malcom, Jr.
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