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Protesters marching in Milwaukee to demand justice for Dontre Hamilton on August 18, 2014. (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Milwaukee Police Officer Won't Face Charges for Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

National Guard on alert as protests begin for Dontre Hamilton, who was shot 14 times in April 30 encounter

Nadia Prupis

Former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney will not be charged in the shooting death of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton that took place earlier this year, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced Monday.

"This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community," Chisholm stated in a press release. "But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney's use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime."

The judge's decision comes amid ongoing civil rights protests throughout the country over police killings of black men and women.

After Chisholm's announcement, protesters said they would meet in Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park, where Hamilton was killed, to stage an action against the decision. The National Guard is reportedly "on alert" to respond.

The decision comes months after the April 30 shooting at Red Arrow Park. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Sun Journal reports:

Manney shot Hamilton 14 times on April 30 during an incident that began when workers at the nearby Starbucks called police to complain about him sleeping in the downtown park. A pair of officers checked on Hamilton twice and found he was doing nothing wrong, according to a Milwaukee police internal affairs investigation.

According to that same investigation, Hamilton allegedly assaulted Manney with his own baton. Manney then shot him.

But the Hamilton family's attorney, Jonathan Safran, says forensic evidence pointed to Manney assaulting Hamilton, who was unarmed at the time of the confrontation. The autopsy showed "blunt force trauma injuries to his head and face," Safran told WISN earlier this month.

"We wanted there to be more evidence about the 14 shots that were fired," Safran said. "Seven of those would appear to be in a downward direction based upon the medical examiner's report. One of the shots being into Dontre's back."

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