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."