A police officer who fatally shot 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in a downtown park has been fired because he disregarded department procedures by instigating a fight with an emotionally disturbed person, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said on Wednesday.
Officer Christopher Manney, 38, reportedly encountered Hamilton sleeping in Red Arrow Park and proceed to pat him down. According to Flynn, Hamilton resisted and fought with Manney before hitting the cop’s neck with his own baton. Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times, killing him.
While Flynn avoided questions about whether the fired officer should face criminal charges, he did confirm that Manney had correctly identified Hamilton as someone who was emotionally disturbed and ignored his training and police policy by treating him as a criminal.
"You don't go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill," Flynn reportedly said during a news conference.
Hamilton’s family also confirmed that the man was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but do to believe that he hit the officer. AP reports that the family saw the firing as a “victory,” but are demanding that police release photographs of the officer’s alleged injuries and the district attorney bring criminal charges.
"Yes, he was fired, but he took a man's life," Hamilton's mother, Maria, said at a separate news conference.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Family photo courtesy of Dameion Perkins)