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Commission Upholds Former Officer Manney's Firing for Rule Violations

Hamilton_Family_after_verdict.jpg
LaToya Dennis
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Hamilton Family along with Coalition for Justice Founder Curtis Sails after the decion to permanately fire former MPD officer Christopher Manney was announced

Three members of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission late last night upheld the firing of former MPD officer Christopher Manney. 

Manney was fired in October after an internal affairs investigation found that he conducted an out-of-policy pat-down on Dontre Hamilton, which led to an altercation and deadly force needing to be used. Hamilton was unarmed and suffered from schizophrenia.

When the decision was read, there was a brief moment of cheers and clapping interrupting the proceedings. But once the hearing was finally over, that’s when the real emotion came--hugs and tears were in abundance.

Nate Hamilton was one of Dontre’s brothers. He says they were determined not to give up.

“I’m going to say it real blunt. Like I told my brother, like I told everybody in my family, they f’ed with the wrong family. Dontre was a good person. Dontre didn’t deserve to be shot 14 times Can you imagine someone, or even yourself being shot 14 times? You just can’t. Especially for sleeping or laying in a park doing nothing. Not committing a crime, not assumed of committing a crime and you die? Like that’s ridiculous,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton said that while they didn’t want to spend much more time focusing on Manney, his testimony was like a slap in the face.

“Christopher Manney was not remorseful for his mistakes. Not once did he apologize to my family for the murder of my brother. Not once did he acknowledge that. And if you make a mistake, as a man, as a person, as a woman, you acknowledge the mistakes that you make, the wrongs that you do,” Hamilton says.

Manney did not speak after the decision, but he did make a plea to the panel before they began deliberating.

“I know a lot of the media, they never got a chance to see my face, but I know that when I was on that stand, you guys looked at me and I think you know I’m a man of honesty. If you feel I violated a rule, I understand that, but I ask that you do not terminate me. I want to be a cop, it’s who I am,” Manney says.

Earlier in the day, former MPD officer Steve Spingola, who now works as a detective and professor, said Manney acted appropriately.

“This was a dynamic, rapidly unfolding situation in which officer Manney had to take action to protect himself and other citizens, and it unfortunately resulted in the death of Mr. Hamilton. While this is legally controversial, this is legally defensible based on what he did to save his life and other persons in the park that day,” Spingola says.

Spingola says it was up to Hamilton to respond in a way that did not cause the confrontation to escalate.

While Manney did appeal his firing, before he is seeking duty disability. He says because of the stress he’s been under doctors say he cannot return to police work. A decision on that filing has not yet been made, but it will come from doctors.  

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn chose not to address the media as well, but during his testimony Flynn said that the degree of harm, meaning the loss of life, was the most important factor in deciding to fire Manney.

Mark Thomsen is Flynn’s attorney. He did address reporters after the hearing.  

“What I think is important is that it provides an opportunity for the community to heal, and think through their relationship and frankly get over a lot of the conspiracy theories that run amuck on both sides,” Thomsen says.

Manney could still appeal the panel’s decision in circuit court.

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