No Federal Charges Against Officer Who Killed Dontre Hamilton


MILWAUKEE – The Justice Department announced on Tuesday, November 10th that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney for the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton at Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park on April 30, 2014.

The family of Dontre Hamilton and their attorneys met Tuesday morning with members of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, family attorney Jonathan Safran said.

The charging decision hinged on determining whether Manney willfully violated Hamilton’s civil rights. In past cases involving alleged police misconduct, federal prosecutors have said they had to show more than negligence to prosecute and had to show officers acted with deliberate and specific intent to do something forbidden by the law.

In a news release, federal authorities said they reviewed all reports, transcripts and other evidence already compiled during previous investigations before reaching a decision.

Manney shot Hamilton, 31, during a confrontation at Red Arrow Park on April 30, 2014. After the shooting, family members and their supporters regularly rallied at Red Arrow Park, protesting the treatment of black men by police officers and joining national calls for police reform.

After reviewing reports provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm declined to issue state criminal charges, determining Manney’s use of force was justified self-defense.

The Hamilton family and their attorneys are “extremely disappointed with the decision,” and the family “has seen no accountability to date for Dontre’s death,” according to a statement from Safran’s office. The Hamilton family is scheduled to speak to reporters at a 1 p.m. news conference.

The lack of criminal charges does not preclude Hamilton’s family from filing a civil suit, although the decisions by state and federal prosecutors could make a civil case harder to prove.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the family say they intend to pursue a federal civil rights lawsuit and say the family will “continue to work to bring positive change to Milwaukee and to empower mothers and families who have experienced injustice.”

Maria and Nate Hamilton are holding a press conference at city hall at 1pm local time.

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