December 21, 2014

Eight months ago, Dontre Hamilton, a homeless black man with a history of mental illness, was sleeping on a bench in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney was ordered to do a safety check on Hamilton.

But instead of just doing a safety check, Manney escalated the situation by doing an improper search on Hamilton. When Hamilton protested, Manney tried to subdue Hamilton with his nightstick. A fight ensued and Hamilton got the nightstick away from Manney and started using it against Manney.

Manney responded by drawing his firearm and shooting Hamilton fourteen times. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting on the autopsy of Hamilton:

Half the bullets that hit Dontre Hamilton traveled in a downward direction and one hit him in the back, according to a portion of the autopsy released Monday by his family.

In addition, a toxicology test showed that Hamilton, who was killed by a Milwaukee police officer in Red Arrow Park, had no drugs in his system, the report says.


The portion of the autopsy released by the family confirms that Hamilton was shot 14 times, leaving 15 gunshot wounds.

The autopsy also notes that Hamilton suffered blunt force injuries to his chin, scalp and neck and had bruises on his upper arm, and that Hamilton had no drugs in his system.

Manney was fired for the incident, but not because of the excessive use of force. He was fired for doing the wrongful pat down which escalated the incident.

Despite several investigations and reports on the matter, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has yet to make a decision on whether to charge Manney with any crimes.

This lack of justice for Hamilton has led to a series of protest marches, including some with people from Ferguson, all of which have been peaceful and without incident.

On Friday afternoon, there was another march. However, instead of going to the usual destinations of the police headquarters and/or the Milwaukee County Courthouse, the protesters went to I-43, shutting it down for a few minutes.

Milwaukee police and county sheriff deputies arrested 74 people, including one juvenile, and held them in custody for up to 26 hours.

Even before the protest march started, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who blamed President Barack Obama for the protests in Ferguson, issued a rather bizarre press release warning of "out-of-state, leftist anarchists":

With that preface, I want to alert the public of information that has come to our attention regarding the potential of disruptive tactics. A credible source has informed us that several anarchist groups led by outside persons, are gathering in the Milwaukee area to plan disruptive activities both before and after the decision by Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm regarding the Dontre Hamilton case. The information indicates that the groups have exploited the tragic situation involving the death of Mr. Hamilton, to destabilize daily activities of law-abiding citizens in public and private spaces open to the public. This includes the use of blockades on the interstate system and around other roadways to prevent law enforcement from responding quickly to emergency situations. These leftist groups use the tactic of hiding among legitimate peaceful protestors to conduct their
illegitimate campaign.

We are asking members of the public to report any activities like those described to law enforcement as soon as possible and to provide detailed descriptions of any actors involved.

After Friday's protest, Clarke, who said we shouldn't count on him for help in an emergency but to pack heat instead, ran to Scott Walker, asking for help. Walker granted his wish and has called up the National Guard to quell peaceful protestors and direct traffic:

One day after more than 70 were arrested for protesting the Dontre Hamilton shooting, the National Guard has been called up to help.

A spokesperson from Wisconsin National Guard says soldiers are being notified of the call up.

They received a request on Saturday from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Governor Scott Walker has approved the use.

The National Guard says at this time, there is no specific mission, but they are making preparations to be able to immediately respond if needed.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment about the decision.

In sum, in Milwaukee, we have the same issue of an overly aggressive police force and white cop on black man homicide, like we've seen too damn much across the country. However, on top of that, we have a couple of right wing chuckleheads that are trying to needlessly escalate the situation into a dangerous level, even while they are repeatedly showing themselves to being utterly incompetent at handling a peaceful situation.

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