Call for change: Family of Dontre Hamilton rallies in downtown Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The family of Dontre Hamilton gathered at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on Friday morning, May 2nd.

Hamilton, who has a history of mental illness, was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer after he grabbed the officer's baton and began beating the officer with it.

It was an emotional morning for Dontre Hamilton's mother and older brother -- as they rallied. The goal for them -- to make the community more aware that more needs to be done to help those with mental illness.

Surrounded by family and friends, Hamilton's mother grieved at the Red Arrow statue where her son was shot and killed.

Dontre Hamilton

Dontre Hamilton

Hamilton's brother tells FOX6 News, Dontre was a paranoid schizophrenic who was afraid to sleep at night. That's why he may have been tired and was lying down on the concrete at the park.

Hamilton had been on treatment for his mental illness with inoculations. But a family member says he had difficulty getting those shots recently. He family says the system needs to be better.

"We're not trying to point the finger at the police department. We're not trying to point the finger at anyone," said Nathaniel Hamilton. "We want answers. We want the truth, and I think we deserve it. And every other family out there, hang in there. Fight for your family members. For your loved ones that's sick. Don't give up on them. Don't turn your back on them. Don't kick them out. Love your family."

Maria Hamilton

Maria Hamilton

"Right now, all I want to do is to give somebody else's child, somebody else's mother, somebody else's brother, the opportunity to get the help they need when they need it, not be pushed aside," said Maria Hamilton.

Dontre Hamilton's family says he did have a lot of family who cared about him; cared for him. He was not homeless -- but was just not able to get enough help from the mental health system.

The Hamilton family planned to gather at 8 p.m. Friday for a 31-minute vigil -- marking the 31 years Dontre was alive.

The family will wait until the police investigation is complete before making any decision as to how they feel about the actions of the police officer.

8 comments

  • Ms Elizabeth (@festachick)

    They should bbring back sanitariums. Those truly mentally ill who are a threat to themselves and others don’t belong walking the streets. They belong in a facility that will get them the help they need. How many times does MCMH keep putting these people back into society?

    • Sean Heusdens

      Wow, I agree that we can do a better job of monitored the mental ill, which when they are not clearly displaying control behavior, in the community. However, the idea of bring back sanitariums to house the mental ill is ignorant statement. Regular home visits or a family member report change in behavior should allow automatic 48 hour evaluation to make sure they are correctly on the medications would be nice step in the right direction. I have a brother in Racine WI., who is mental illness. He just need to have his medication to displaying control behavior. Moreover, the problem is when people know there is an issues with my brother; The system prevents anyone from helping him till end up in Racine County Jail for disorderly conduct. The thing is he doe not belong in jail but need monitored, and, get him stably on his medication. The system needs to change so someone help mental ill when they need to get back on there medication. It is a sad day when an event like this happens.

  • Meg

    I am sorry this happened to your son, your brother, your nephew, your cousin, your friend. This tragedy should have been prevented. More should have been done for him. I’m thankful your family holds no resentment for the officer, as I am certain he is equally distraught at taking his life. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

  • Kristin

    I really feel for this family. Our mental health care is lacking and people aren’t getting the medications and help that they need. He should’ve be able to get his anti phychotic shot. For people suffering with schizophrenia and similar disorders, those shots are critical to their well being. Most people cannot afford a $500 shot. So many things wrong with our health care and prescription prices.

  • mia

    First of all. If his mom cared so much, why wasn’t he sleeping at her house instead of on the street.

Comments are closed.