Monday, December 22, 2014

White Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney Justified In Killing Black Homeless Man

Former Milwaukee Police Officer was justified in killing Dontre Hamilton, a homeless man whose only mistake was to sleep at a Milwaukee County Park where sleeping was prohibited and any law enforcement officer could use any means to arrest offender without a warrant, Milwaukee County D.A. John Chisholm ruled.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 22, 2014

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - On Monday after 8 months of delay, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced his decision that former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney "was justified" in killing homeless man Dontre Hamilton on April 30. Chisholm in a released investigation report stated,  "After reviewing all the evidence, I believe there can be little serious doubt that P.O. Manney was justified in firing at Dontre Hamilton, who was attacking him with a deadly weapon (baton)... 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." According to Chisholm investigation and determination, Police Officer Manney, who was fired from the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) by MPD Police Chief Edward Flynn for breaking policy by padding down a mentally ill homeless man when trained not to do so under certain circumstances was legally acting when Manney decided to remove Hamilton from sleeping at Red Arrow Park. Under a Milwaukee County Ordinance, any law enforcement officer can prohibit anyone from sleeping at a Milwaukee County Park who is not authorized to do so by arresting and using any means to remove the offender from the park. The County Ordinance prohibits sleeping in a County Park, Section 47.25 of the County Code allows an arrest of an offender without a warrant by any officer and "may use all necessary means to attain that end."
Chisholm believed Manney was legally acting when attempting  to remove Hamilton from the park.
While Manney was padding down Hamilton, Hamilton resisted and scuffled with then Officer Manney. Manney took out his wooded baton and struck Hamilton several times, Hamilton reacted and took the baton away from Manney. He then struck Manney several times and Officer Manney fearing for his life, took out his service weapon and after repeatedly warning Hamilton to drop the baton, and Hamilton moving forward with intent to strike Manney, he had no choice other than to stop the threat and fired multiple shots killing Hamilton, according to Chisholm's investigation.
After Chisholm's decision, hundreds of people walked through downtown and headed to the federal court house where the Hamilton family had a news conference with their attorney.
Jonathan Safran, the attorney for the Hamilton family, says the family was disappointed with Chisholm's decision not to charge former Police Officer Manney with Hamilton's homicide and is seeking a federal investigation for a possible Civil Rights violation of Hamilton's rights. Safran believes, "federal law criminal civil rights charges are warranted in this case."
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Milwaukee has announced that the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI will investigate the Hamilton case to determine whether Hamilton's civil rights were violated by former Officer Manney.
The Coalition for Justice (CfJ), a racially mixed group that have organized protests seeking justice for Hamilton confirmed, that Chisholm's decision proves that there is no justice for black community members, especially in the Hamilton case. In a released statement, CfJ believes that Hamilton "was racially and criminally targeted because he was a Black man, sleeping in a public park."
CfJ on Monday vowed to continue to seek justice for Hamilton and stated that Chisholm, "left the members of this community no other alternatives than to stand up, protest and to take justice that was rightfully ours by birth. There is no justice. So there can be no peace or compromise."
CfJ called on the community to stand up for their civil rights and protest the inequality of justice within the "corrupt" judicial system in Milwaukee County.
Community members after Chisholm's decision began gathering at the downtown Arrow Park where Hamilton was murdered by Manney and plan to continue their protests against inequality of justice for Afro-Americans in Milwaukee and U.S.
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee, an immigrant rights organization, released the following statement, “We condemn District Attorney John Chisolm’s decision to not charge fired police officer Christopher Manney with any crime for killing Dontre Hamilton. To ensure positive police-community relations, we must hold law enforcement officials to high standards under stressful situations.  There was no need to fire 14 rounds in a lethal manner at a man who represented no danger.
“We send our love to Dontre’s family and the families of other victims of police violence. We encourage community members to protest this decision, and we join the Hamilton family in calling on the federal government to start an independent investigation to achieve justice. Justice for Dontre! Black Brown solidarity! Black lives matter!”
The ACLU-Milwaukee posted on their Facebook account that the Mayor and the City Common Council should exercise more accountability and oversight of the Milwaukee Police Department in order to push for the Fire and Police Commission to investigate citizen complaints against police officers. Mirjana Petrovich posted on the ACLU- Milwaukee Facebook an allegation of police abuse and falsifying a report. She wrote on an ACLU oversight of police posting that, "MPD dragged me out of my house and wrongfully imprisoned/arrested me, booked me, kept me in county jail for 48 hours upon which the city attorney dismissed the charges (Officer Donald Krueger of District 6 attempted to charge me with obstruction and falsified the police report). Is there anything you can do to help me file a lawsuit, or perhaps point me in the direction of an attorney who specializes in civil rights violations? I have all the paperwork and photos of the bruises they left on my arms and face."

Milwaukee County D.A. Chisholm's full investigation report on Christopher Manney and Dontre Hamilton case at link (PDF):

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