A former Milwaukee police officer has been cleared of charges filed against him for fatally shooting a mentally ill black man in April.
Christopher Manney won’t be charged with the murder of Dontre Hamilton because he shot him in self-defense, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
“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.”
Attorneys for Manney and the Hamilton family did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Milwaukee police union president Michael Crivello said he would comment after a 10 a.m. news conference by the district attorney.
The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Chris Ahmuty, issued a statement saying the decision not to charge Manney left “a cloud of uncertainty over the circumstances of and the responsibility for Mr. Hamilton’s death.”
Manney shot Hamilton, 31, on April 30 after responding to a call for a welfare check on a man sleeping in a park downtown. According to Manney, Hamilton resisted arrest when he tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punched before Hamilton got a hold of Manney’s baton, and hit hit on the neck with it. Manney then opened fire, hitting Hamilton 14 times.
Several witnesses told authorities they saw Hamilton holding Manney’s baton “in an aggressive posture” before Manney shot him, according to a news release provided by Chisholm.
Hamilton’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication.
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