The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Protests In Milwaukee After DA Fails To File Charges Against Cop In Death Of Mentally Ill Man

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 22, 2014 10:00PM

Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney (left) will not face charges in the April shooting death of Dontre Hamilton (right).

The police-related deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and John Crawford has shined a spotlight on how police departments across the nation interact with people of color in public. But people in Milwaukee have been protesting the death of a black man shot to death by a white police officer, months before Brown’s death in Ferguson sparked a national outrage, and a recent ruling by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has Gov. Scott Walker putting the Wisconsin National Guard on alert.

Chisholm ruled Manney acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, 31, April 30 while responding to a welfare check on a man sleeping in a park. Manney, according to his report, said the unarmed Hamilton resisted while being frisked and grabbed Manney’s baton after the two exchanged punches, striking Manney on the neck. Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times.

Hamilton’s family revealed he was schizophrenic and had stopped taking his medication. They’ve used his death to raise awareness about mental illness. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Manney correctly identified that Hamilton was mentally ill but failed to follow protocol; Flynn fired Manney for cause. (Two other officers responded to earlier calls about Hamilton and determined he didn’t pose a threat.

Despite Flynn’s assessment, Chisholm determined Manney’s use of force was “justified self-defense.”

“That defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge (former) officer Manney with a crime,” Chisholm said. Hamilton’s family released a statement expressing their disappointment with Chisholm and have asked the Justice Department to investigate.

"This is a case which cries out for justice, criminal charges against Christopher Manney, and accountability to Dontre Hamilton’s family."

A 6 p.m. protest has been scheduled in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park where Hamilton was killed. Earlier protests have threatened to shut down freeways and Gov. Scott Walker approved a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to begin calling up National Guard members who will be “will be ready to respond rapidly if needed,” according to National Guard director of communications Maj. Paul Rickert.