Earlier this year, Milwaukee resident Dontre Hamilton was sleeping on a park bench when police Officer Christopher Manney, who had received a call asking that he make sure the man was all right, approached Hamilton and began to pat him down. According to police officials, a scuffle ensued and Manney drew his weapon and shot 14 times, killing Hamilton.
Since the April 30 incident, Hamilton's family has been fighting for justice in the case, informing the public that while Hamilton, 31, suffered from schizophrenia, he was not violent. On Wednesday, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn announced that he had fired Manney, almost six months after the shooting occurred, according to the Associated Press.
"You don't go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill," Flynn said during a news conference Wednesday to announce the 38-year-old officer's termination from the police force. Flynn also noted that Hamilton had been checked prior to the confrontation and had not been deemed harmful to public safety.
While Hamilton's family considered the firing a "victory," they don't believe that there was ever a scuffle to begin with and have asked police to release photos of the injuries that Manney claimed he received during the incident. They also continue to march along with other protesters to demand that the district attorney charge Manney in the shooting.
"Yes, he was fired, but he took a man's life," Hamilton's mother, Maria, said during a separate news conference, AP reports.
"Dontre did not attack this man," Hamilton's brother, Nate Hamilton, told AP. "he did not have to shoot Dontre at all."
According to AP, "The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation investigated Hamilton's death under a state law that requires an outside investigator to review all officer-involved deaths. The Milwaukee County district attorney's office has asked an unnamed investigator to do a second review." An attorney for Hamilton's family noted that the FBI is reportedly looking into the shooting.
Flynn said that he decided to terminate Manney based on an Internal Affairs investigation, and while he would not say whether the former officer should face criminal charges, he did acknowledge "errors of judgment, but no malice" in Manney's handling of the confrontation. "There's got to be a way for us to hold ourselves accountable absent putting cops in jail for making mistakes," he said, AP reports.
Read more at the Associated Press.