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Video: Milwaukee Officer Fired for Policy Violation before Shooting Emotionally Distressed Man

October 16, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Milwaukee Officer Fired for Policy Violation before Shooting Emotionally Distressed Man

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has signed an order to terminate the police officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton on April 30, 2014. It's a move that's drawing sharp criticism from a local alderman and the police union.

Chief Flynn started his news conference by laying out the details of the day Dontre Hamilton was killed. According to Flynn, police officers were dispatched to Red Arrow Park at the request of a Starbucks employee. Officers responded to Red Arrow Park at 1:52 p.m. and 2:09 p.m. to conduct a welfare check on Dontre Hamilton. The Chief says Hamilton was lying or sleeping on the sidewalk near Starbucks. Chief Flynn stressed that these two interactions with Hamilton resulted in no physical contact with him, and officers found no cause for additional police action, WDJT TV reports.

Police Officer Christopher Manney, a beat officer working the downtown area, responded to the original call from Starbucks employees at 3:20 p.m. Chief Flynn says Manney had no idea officers had already responded to Starbucks for a welfare check on Dontre Hamilton. Unlike the officers who already responded, Manney treated Hamilton as a dangerous criminal. Chief Flynn points out this treatment of Hamilton goes against the training Manney received on how to deal with an emotionally disturbed person. The chief points out this error in judgment led to the unfortunate death of Dontre Hamilton. 

In a statement read to the media, Chief Flynn says the pat down given by Manney led to a physical confrontation with Hamilton. Both men punched each other repeatedly, then Manney used his baton to subdue Hamilton. According to the chief, Hamilton took that baton from Officer Manney and began beating him with it. That's when Manney pulled out his gun and shot Hamilton several times. Hamilton died at the scene.

Chief Ed Flynn says the officer's decision to fire shots at Hamilton was justified, and is only firing Manney for acting against his training. "We have a series of decisions by Officer Manney that resulted in taking of a human life," says Flynn. "While I find errors in judgment used by Officer Manney, there was no malice in his decisions." While taking questions Chief Flynn told reporters, "He should have known better."

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

SGT JJ @ 10/16/2014 3:57 PM

Seems to me that the first two officers that checked a man passed out in a public area and did nothing, were the ones that acted against common training practice. A complaint was received by an employee of the location, obviously concerned and would have liked to have the man removed. Had they done their job, the second lone officer would not have had the unfortunate physical altercation, thus loosing control of his baton and having to shoot the suspect.

Jason @ 10/16/2014 4:05 PM

Agreed Sgt JJ.

jb @ 10/16/2014 4:12 PM

Sounds like a chief trying to cover his own butt. When are departments going to start standing up for their people. Pretty soon no one is going to do anything for fear of lawsuits or termination. It's bad enough we get no support from our politicians and governors but when your own people sell you down the river for doing your job it's truly sad. If he did his job wrong retrain him but don't fire the guy.

Tom Ret @ 10/16/2014 6:03 PM

It sounds like the officer treating the suspect as possibly dangerous was spot on. If anyone should be fired it is the chief. He is creating an atmosphere of doing the minimum because officers will wonder if they will be backed if they do their job and is obvious they won't with this chief.

ResAgentSWA @ 10/16/2014 9:45 PM

"Chief Flynn points out this treatment of Hamilton goes against the training Manney received on how to deal with an emotionally disturbed person."

Emotionally disturbed persons do not wear a sign describing their mental state. It can take some time (in some cases) for an observer to conclude their mental state is not normal. Emotionally disturbed persons sometimes act violently, just like violent criminals. Waiting to figure this out can be dangerous to the officer. Did the suspect get angry over the third law enforcement contact within a relatively short period of time? Was there some facts that caused the officer to believe that the suspect was dangerous? Did the fact that the officer was alone (vs. two man beat cars) have anything to do with this? It seems to me that there are a lot of holes in this supposed "open and shut case."

Capt. Crunch @ 10/16/2014 10:14 PM

My question would be why did the first responding officers let Hamilton, remain lying on the sidewalk. Hamilton, must of thought it was alright to for him to lay or sleep on the sidewalk, because the first officers did not eject him from the sidewalk. So then when Ofcer. Manney, shows up to do his job, Hamilton, thinks he is being harassed and starts to fight Ofcr. Manney. Chief Flynn, may be book smart but he sure as hell is not street smart.

chief goltry @ 10/17/2014 5:09 AM

Fire the first two officers, not the third. the first two did not due what they were trained to.

Bill @ 10/17/2014 11:26 AM

This is what happens when you start acquiescing to violent people. The leaders start making decisions based on possibilities, rather than weighing facts of a situation.

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