Prosecutors say Christopher Manney was justified on April 30 when he shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, who had grabbed the officer’s baton. (Fox 6 Now Screenshot)
A former Milwaukee, Wisc., police officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man he encountered in a park this spring, a prosecutor announced on Monday, according to The New York Times. Protesters in the city cited the shooting as yet another example of excessive force against Black men by police, the paper writes.
Christopher Manney (pictured right), who is White, was justified on April 30 when he shot at Dontre Hamilton (pictured left), who had grabbed the officer’s baton and swung it at him, John T. Chisholm, the Milwaukee County district attorney said Monday. During a scuffle, the officer shot and killed Hamilton, firing numerous times, the report says.
Unlike similar high profile cases involving the deaths of unarmed men at the hands of the police, the D.A. did not put the question of indictment to a grand jury, but made the decision himself not to issue state criminal charges against former police officer.
“The use of deadly force against Dontre Hamilton was not a choice P.O. Manney made voluntarily, but was instead a defensive action forced upon him by Dontre Hamilton’s deadly attack with a police baton,” Chisholm wrote in a 25-page report released on Monday and quoting an independent “use of force” expert who reviewed the case for the prosecutor, the Times writes.
For months, supporters in Milwaukee had called for charges against Officer Manney, who was fired from the city police force after the shooting. Anger over the case gained momentum in Milwaukee after the mounting protests that followed the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. Officials in Wisconsin have said the state’s National Guard have been alerted to the possibility of larger protests after more than 70 people were arrested during a weekend demonstration that blocked an Interstate highway.
In the April shooting, Mr. Chisholm said that the officer appeared to have fired 13 or 14 shots in about three or four seconds, a point that many demonstrators decried as unnecessary. To that, Mr. Chisholm wrote in his report, again quoting from the independent expert, “The more difficult issue is whether P.O. Manney fired more shots than necessary, or continued firing after he could reasonably perceive that Hamilton was clearly no longer a threat.”
Manney was fired in October after Police Chief Edward Flynn determined the officer had identified Hamilton as mentally ill, but ignored department policy and treated him as a criminal by frisking him, USA Today reports.
The victim’s brother, Nate Hamilton, on Monday spoke out against the decision, according to Fox 6 Now.
“We’re not going to cover up injustice with our tears,” he said, according to Fox. “We deserve justice, justice is our right.”
U.S. Attorney James Santelle confirmed today that the U.S. Department of Justice will undertake a federal review of the case, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.