By James H. Hall, Jr., President of NAACP Milwaukee Branch
The NAACP Milwaukee Branch is pleased with the action that Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn took last week to discharge the officer, Christopher Manney, for violating procedures in connection with the tragic shooting of Dontre Hamilton.
We have advocated that the department should aggressively rid itself of those officers who are incompetent, corrupt or racist.
Such officers not only do a disservice to citizens and the community, but also undermine the efforts of all other officers in the department who do follow procedures and engage with citizens in a respectful manner as they carry out their duties to serve and protect.
We encourage Chief Flynn and the Fire and Police Commission to act to eliminate “bad apples” whenever they appear.
This will certainly not only result in a more accountable police force but will also result in improved community/police relations.
While we applaud the action taken to discharge the officer, we believe that is only a first step.
Many issues remain, including questions regarding the matter of excessive force.
Like the Hamilton family and many in the community, we find it difficult to understand how the officer’s shooting of Mr. Hamilton 14 times, under the circumstances, does not constitute “excessive force.”
We urge District Attorney John Chisholm to complete his review and issue findings that are anxiously awaited by the community. We trust that the review is being conducted in a thorough and fair manner.
It is reasonable for the family and community to expect the District Attorney’s decision to be forthcoming as it is now almost six months after the incident and more than two months since Mr. Chisholm received the report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
How long must the community wait for a decision – a year, two years?
Additionally, we urge the Police Department and the Fire and Police Commission to act expediently on their announcement to implement Crisis Intervention Training within the department and to move forward on the use of body cameras.
Police policies and practices must reflect priorities that include legality, competency, transparency and accountability.
The community deserves nothing less.