The former Milwaukee cop responsible for the April 30 shooting death of Dontre Hamilton will not be criminally charged for the shooting, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced on Monday, according to the Journal Sentinel.
"This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community," Chisholm wrote in the report announcing the decision. "But based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, 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."
Hamilton's family, who have said that he had been treated for schizophrenia but was nonviolent, had been leading protests in the downtown Milwaukee area, hoping that charges would be announced. Shortly before the release of the report, members of the Coalition for Justice who have been supporting the protests expressed their wishes for justice.
"We hope the district attorney decides to charge Christopher Manney and finds those 14 shots in Red Arrow [Park] were excessive and reckless," Curtis Sails III, a coalition member, said in the minutes before the announcement, the Journal Sentinel reports. "We hope that America, and Milwaukee, does the right thing this time, because it seems like in other cases they've gotten it wrong."
Manney had responded to a complaint about someone sleeping in the park in downtown Milwaukee. According to the official report, Manney was not aware at the time that officers had already checked on Hamilton twice and found that he was doing nothing wrong.
The officer reportedly began to pat Hamilton down, according to the Sentinel, resulting in a scuffle as Hamilton fought back. According to the Sentinel, Manney attempted to subdue Hamilton with a baton, but according to an internal-affairs report, Hamilton took control of the baton, hitting Manney in the side of the neck.
It was then that Manney drew his gun and shot Hamilton 14 times.
Manney was fired in October, not for the use of excessive force, the Sentinel notes, but for not following department policy leading up to the shooting. He has appealed his termination and applied for duty disability, citing that the incident led to severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Read more at the Journal Sentinel.