By Karen Stokes
Christopher Manney 38, the former Milwaukee police officer fired due to the highly publicized fatal shooting of an unarmed, mentally-ill Black man, learned his fate Monday night during the Fire and Police Commission Hearing.
A panel of three commissioners found that police chief Flynn was justified in firing Manney for violating department protocol.
Last April, Manney found Dontre Hamilton, 31, sleeping in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee. According to Manney in his testimony, he believed Hamilton had a weapon because he saw a bulge in his pocket and many homeless people carry weapons.
He then began to pat Hamilton down, Hamilton grabbed his baton and attacked him with it.
Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times.
According to Fox 6, phase one of Manney’s appeal asked two questions: did Manney violate the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) protocol and code of conduct in the pat down and did Manney’s use of force violate MPD’s protocol and code of conduct?
The Fire and Police Commission unanimously answered yes to both questions.
In phase two, it was to be determined whether Manney’s termination was appropriate.
Chief Flynn testified, “Whether we chose to believe version one [of Manney’s story] which is, I really didn’t have a reason to pat him down except he looked like he was homeless, which is a violation of our training and policy, or we believe version two which is, I saw him, I was immediately afraid of him and knew I had to do something immediately, that also placed him in complete violation of his training.
Either way, his bad decision making created a chain in events which would ultimately place him in a situation of using deadly force.”
“I ask that you do not terminate me. I want to be a cop. It’s who I am” said Manney.
“I’ve helped people my whole life and that’s what I ask of you.”
The commission ruled that Chief Flynn firing Manney was appropriate and justified.
Mayor Barrett made a statement shortly after the decision, “What was most important then and still is today is to find a way for our city to heal and move forward.
The tragic death of Dontre Hamilton has shaken our community and we have much work to do.
We have taken proactive and positive steps to address additional critical incident training and to elevate how we, as a community, provide services and support to individuals with mental illness.”
The Hamilton family has been meeting with officials and community leaders and have led peaceful protests seeking justice for Dontre and were relieved with the decision.
Jonathan Safran, attorney for the Hamilton family made a statement.
“The family is obviously very happy by the determination of the fire and Police Commission.
The Hamilton family will continue to make positive changes in the community,” Safran said. “The family has peacefully rallied to help make a change in Milwaukee.”
Manney can still appeal his termination in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. According to Atty Safran, the Hamilton family is concerned that Manney will appeal the decision.
“The U.S. federal attorneys are still reviewing the Hamilton case to determine if civil rights were violated,” Safran said.