Milwaukee Police Officer Starts Fight, Shoots Mentally Ill Man

A Milwaukee Police officer started a fight with a mentally ill man this past April. After escalating the situation with Dontre Hamilton, the officer then shot him 14 times, killing him.

Christopher Manney, 38, had encountered Hamilton in Red Arrow Park while on a “check welfare” call. He found the man sleeping, woke him up and initiated a pat-down.

According to reports, the two began exchanging punches. Manney allegedly realized that Hamilton was mentally ill and forgot his police training at that point. When Hamilton allegedly grabbed Manney’s baton and struck him in the neck with it, the officer made the wrong decision.

Having already escalated the problem and allegedly feeling his life was in danger, Officer Manney shot him.

Dontre Hamilton’s family knew he was mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia but not violent, and claim he never would have struck the Milwaukee police officer.

Police Chief Edward Flynn fired Manney for his indiscretion in the Red Arrow Park shooting, according to Fox News.

“This was not a call of a mentally ill man waving a gun. This was not a call of a mentally ill man threatening to kill other people. This was a check welfare call. There’s a set of training and approaches that you are taught, and you don’t go hands on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill.

“There was no malice in his decision. He did not act outside of policy using the force he used. Bad tactics and bad decisions resulted in this escalation that necessitated a use of deadly force.”

After much debating about what had happened and why, Flynn eventually decided that Manney should hand over his badge and gun. His actions in the Red Arrow Park shooting were allegedly uncalled for and resulted in the death of a man who hadn’t been doing anything wrong.

The Milwaukee Police officer was fired over an easily avoidable death, instead of being put in jail for manslaughter. Police Association President Mike Crivello feels that simply firing Manney for his actions wasn’t enough, according to ABC News.

“The use of deadly force by an officer is a difficult decision that must be made accurately and instantaneously – the MPA is confident in the officer’s training and trust the action taken was of necessity. … as to the MPD leadership and City leadership, today is an unfortunate day – the decision to terminate this officer is cowardice and certainly unfounded and unsupported by fact.”

Do you feel that Milwaukee Police officer Christopher Manney should have been jailed, or was firing enough?

[Image via Journal Sentinel Online, Wikimedia Commons]