Courtesy of Associated Press
The Rev. Jesse Jackson last Saturday told relatives and supporters of a Milwaukee man killed by a city police officer that he will continue to draw attention to the case and what he and other critics say is a pattern of injustice.
“We cannot stand by and let this happen without saying something,” the civil rights leader told a crowd of about 200 people during a rally at his Rainbow PUSH Coalition Headquarters in Chicago.
Dontre Hamilton, a 31-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by former officer Christopher Manney, who is white, in a downtown Milwaukee park in April.
Police Chief Edward Flynn fired Manney in October, saying he ignored department policy and treated Hamilton as a criminal by frisking him. Flynn has said Hamilton resisted arrest and that he and Manney exchanged punches before Hamilton grabbed the officer’s baton and hit him with it.
Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced last week that he would not file charges against Manney, saying the officer acted in self-defense. Hours later, U.S. Attorney James Santelle announced that federal investigators will review the shooting to determine if Manney violated federal civil rights laws.
Hamilton’s family says he suffered from schizophrenia. His parents, two brothers and other relatives, along with several dozen supporters, joined Jackson at Saturday’s rally in hopes of bringing more widespread attention to the case.
“Dontre was a loving and concerned individual who didn’t deserve to die,” his brother, Nate Hamilton, said.
Jackson pledged to “escalate this battle” by seeking federal intervention, while also noting that any protests should be peaceful and that he doesn’t support violence. He called the shooting deaths of two police officers a week ago in New York a tragedy.
“We want to stop all killing,” Jackson said.
He added that he plans to travel to Milwaukee to hold a march and protest and to continue pressing police and lawmakers for change. Jackson didn’t say when those events would take place, but said it would be “soon.”