Board of supervisors approves funding for memorial honoring man shot while beating an officer with his own baton

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MILWAUKEE, WI – The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted 7-1 to approved money to build a memorial for Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park, where he was shot and killed in self-defense by a Milwaukee police officer who was being beaten with his own baton.

The $3,000 approved by the board will go toward a bench with a plaque about Hamilton’s impact on the community and the importance of mental health care.

Hamilton was shot 14 times on April 30, 2014, by Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney after Starbucks workers called police on him for sleeping in the park.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has concluded that former officer Manney acted in self-defense:

“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 (former) officer Manney with a crime.”

Manney said that he attempted to frisk Hamilton and the man resisted, striking the officer with his own baton during the ensuing struggle. Manney fired 14 times to stop with assault.

The shooting led to protests at Red Arrow Park In the days and weeks that followed. Hamilton’s family issued a statement critical of the DA’s determination:

“After waiting now for almost eight months since Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed at Red Arrow Park by former City of Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney, the Hamilton family and their attorneys are extremely disappointed in District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision in this case.

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

Hamilton’s family claim he was not violent, but suffered from schizophrenia.

Despite the shooting being ruled justified, the council approved the money for the tribute to Hamilton, saying he was an inspiration and his life motivates to continue the fight for justice.  The resolution passed to authorize the funds said the memorial will prompt conversations about mental health.

The plaque will reportedly read:

“Dontre Hamilton was a man given to us to inspire, motivate, encourage, strengthen, love, and so much more. Every day he continues to manifest within our lives, to keep us united and strong not only as a community but as a family, to uplift us, to continue our fight towards justice.

“We also have used Dontre’s name to shed light on the difficulties we face around mental health issues. We can challenge Milwaukee to be better educated and informed on how to bring more consciousness in supporting those who deal with mental health.”

A measure was brought forward in 2016 by the Dontre Hamilton Memorial Planning Task Force, but failed to advance from committee. Supervisor Sequanna Taylor, the measure’s lead sponsor, said the measure was delayed by miscommunication, heightened emotions and turnover on the County Board.

Taylor said she was were happy to see the memorial , but that it did not provide the justice the family is seeking:

“Even though I am happy that we are able to do something for this family, if this passes I want everyone to know this is not justice for this family losing their son,” she said. “This is just a way that we can have a memorial and a celebration of his life, given that he died in such a tragic way.”

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Civilian Police board in Chicago wants police fired for justified shootings

December 1, 2021

 

CHICAGO, IL – The issue with having civilian police accountability boards, is that they may not be astute with the ins and outs of law enforcement protocols.  This is evident in Chicago where the board wants to terminate two officers who were justified in their use of deadly force in an incident from 2018.

In this incident, Chicago Police Officers David Taylor and Larry Lanier responded to a 911 complaint regarding a man with a firearm.

When the officers arrived on scene, the suspect, Terrel Eason, was in the backyard of a residence.  Both officers ordered Eason to drop his firearm several times and that order was ignored.

Officers, fearing for their lives, opened fire, striking and injuring Eason who collapsed in the yard.  Another officer, who arrived on scene after the initial shots, entered the backyard.

Body camera footage shows Eason fall to the ground, then begin to stand, still armed with the gun in his right hand.  Once upright, Eason fell again.

The Police Review Board decided to terminate both officers for shooting Eason, despite the fact that Eason was armed with a gun and threatening officers, and for failing to activate their body cameras.  

Chicago Police Department Superintendent, David Brown, disagreed with the board and their plans to terminate the officers for defending themselves.  Brown agreed that officers should have activated their body  cameras, but disagreed that they should be terminated.

In regards to Taylor and Lanier not activating their body cameras prior to the shooting, Brown recommended that they each receive a reprimand for violation of the department’s policy.  According to the Chicago Tribune, Brown did not believe that either officer should be suspended for their actions in this circumstance.

Regardless of Brown’s recommendation, Chicago Police Board Member, Matthew Crowl, disagreed.  

An attorney for Taylor, Tim Grace, said that the officers were both justified in their use of force under the circumstances.  He told the Chicago Tribune that the officers and he agree with Brown’s recommendation. 

He said:

“We agree with Superintendent Brown’s assessment of the use of force by the officers.  There was no cover.  Time and distance were not available to the officers [Eason] was given multiple [commands] to drop the weapon…We look forward to adjudicating this case before the Chicago Police Board.”

In the meantime, a 35-year-old man is reportedly being held without bail after allegedly opening fire at Chicago Police officers during the afternoon of November 28th.

From what officials say, the incident all started from a simple instance of consuming alcohol in public

At approximately 3:15 p.m. on November 28th, CPD officers had reportedly witnessed Gerardo Jasso in possession of an open container of alcohol in a public area along the 6200-block of North Oakley Avenue. 

According to reports, the officers that spotted the suspect were said to have recognized Jasso as he’s alleged to be a reputed gang member of the Latin Kings within the neighborhood. 

When officers attempted to approach Jasso to speak with him regarding the open container of booze, the suspect reportedly fled on foot. While running from the scene, police say that Jasso turned around and started shooting toward one of the officers. 

Said pursuing officer returned fire on the suspect, but officials say neither the suspect nor the police officer were struck during the exchanged gunfire. 

Nearby surveillance cameras – in concurrence with officers’ body worn cameras – were said to have captured the moments where Jasso opened fire at the officer. 

After the shooting incident, civilian witnesses to the ordeal informed the officers on scene that Jasso had hidden himself under a nearby porch. Police were able to locate the suspect and take him into custody. 

Arresting officers were said to have recovered a two grams of cocaine on the suspect, along with a loaded gun with and extended magazine found along the pathway where the suspect ran from officers. 

Prosecutors say that Jasso had admitted to having the gun and even opening fire with same said weapon as well.

However, Jasso had proclaimed that he only fired his weapon in an attempt to scare off someone who was shooting at him.

It’s not exactly clear what Jasso means by said statement, as there are no reports indicating that there was another armed suspect and/or shooting ongoing in the area or during the police pursuit. 

Jasso is said to also have a warrant stemming from Wisconsin, but it’s unclear as to what that warrant is for as of this time.

The Chicago Police Department have not revealed the name of the officers involved in the arrest, nor the identity of the officer that was allegedly fired upon by the suspect.

Previous arrests of Jasso in Chicago included charges such as driving on a suspended license, urinating in public, unlawful possession of a weapon, and various other charges related to vehicular license suspension. 

When Jasso opted for a bench trial for the weapons charges he accrued in May of 2018, Judge Timothy Chambers found him not guilty on all six counts of felony gun charges in July of 2019.

As for the latest charges Jasso is facing, they are one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, one felony count of aggravated unlawful possession of a weapon, one felony count of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor charge for drinking alcohol in the public way.

His next court appearance is slated for December 3rd. 

This is a developing story. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we gather further updates as this case works it’s way through the courts.  

 

 

 

 

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