Today’s court decision resulting in a white officer not being charged for killing a black man could further complicate and prolong a peaceful outcome nationwide as tensions are already high.
Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney‘s “use of force” in the shooting death of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton was “justified self-defense” according to the District Attorney’s office.
“This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community,” Chisholm said in a statement. “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.”
On April 30, Manney shot Hamilton responding to a call for a welfare check on a man sleeping in a downtown park. Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punches before Hamilton got a hold of Manney’s baton and hit him on the neck with it, the former officer has said. Manney pulled his gun and opened fire.
Hamilton, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication according to family members.
Several witness corroborated Officer Manny’s accounts regarding Hamilton holding the baton in an “aggressive posture.” There was no video of the altercation.
This confrontation preceded both later Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. Respect for law enforcement doesn’t require hand to hand combat. No one should lose their life over a request from a police officer.
Police arrested 74 protesters on Friday evening as rush hour was blocked on Interstate 43 in Milwaukee. Gov. Scott Walker has said he will call up the National Guard if there is any violent reaction to the prosecutor’s decision.