“Why is he still on the force?” Six people have filed complaints against officer who shot Dontre Hamilton

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Tired of shouting and shutting down streets, those who have been taking part in demonstrations in support of Dontre Hamilton on Thursday, October 2nd tried taking a more diplomatic route. So did they get the answers they have been looking for?

This week marked the five-month anniversary of the shooting death of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton. He was shot and killed inside Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on April 30th. Police have said he was killed after he took an officer's baton.

Dontre Hamilton's family members and other supporters have been demonstrating in the months following Hamilton's death. They want the name of the officer who shot and killed Hamilton to be made public, and they also want the injuries that officer is said to have suffered detailed.

Per a new law, the state's Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation has completed its independent investigation into Hamilton's death -- and has handed over its report to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office -- which will make the decision as to whether any charges will be filed against the officer in this case.

The District Attorney's Office has asked for a second independent investigation in this case. It said this week that the FBI is investigating the "use of force" in this case. We're told a national use of force expert is also reviewing the use of force in this case. The D.A.'s Office says a local police agency has already reviewed the use of force in this case. Which agency that is, hasn't been made clear.

There is no timetable for a decision in this case.

On Thursday, October 2nd, another Fire and Police Commission meeting was held. Those protesting Hamilton's death have a history of disrupting these meetings, but on Thursday night, they ditched the dramatics and tried playing by the Commission's rules.

On this Thursday night, Dontre Hamilton supporters were once again making demands.

"When are we gonna get put on the agenda, so we can get answers? We`re being disregarded. We came here peacefully. That`s what you all suggested," a demonstrator said.

In early September, shouts echoed into the Fire and Police Commission meeting as protesters filled City Hall -- banging on the walls. That's when the group had planned to present a list of demands to the Fire and Police Commission -- but the group showed up about 45 minutes into the meeting, and police officers blocked doors -- denying the group's entry into the meeting. The Fire and Police Commission meeting was abruptly halted, and city leaders were escorted out.

Weeks later, demonstrators returned to chant in the hallway.

"We`ve been waiting on answers for the last five, five months," a demonstrator said.

"This citizen board does not have the answers that you are looking for because we do not have the reports and we don`t have the final investigation yet," Fire and Police Commission Director Mike Tobin said during Thursday's meeting.

Jonathan Safran, the attorney for Dontre Hamilton's family, says he's disappointed the family is just now learning the FBI and a national use of force expert are involved in this case.

"Now were finding out there weeks later that now there is another investigation that`s being done and I guess I`m not sure why we were not told about that at the last meeting," Safran said.

"We have to be respectful of this new process and we have to be respectful of the District Attorney`s investigation and once that investigation is complete, as Chief Flynn has previously stated, then that (officer's) name will be publicly released," Milwaukee Police Department Assistant Chief James Harpole said.

Dontre Hamilton's family members say they want to meet with Fire and Police Commission members outside the police department. They've also marched to City Hall this summer -- hoping to meet with Mayor Tom Barrett.

Hamilton's family's attorney confirms with FOX6 News the family had a private meeting with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke on Thursday -- but the attorney won't release any information about what was discussed unless Sheriff Clarke chooses to do so.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office hasn't responded to FOX6's request for comment.

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Meanwhile, FOX6 News is learning more about the officer involved in the Dontre Hamilton shooting. He hasn't been named, but one woman says more than a decade ago, she was manhandled and cursed at by the same officer. She shared her story exclusively with FOX6 News.

While police haven't made the name of the officer public -- saying they will do so once a charging decision is made by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, the Hamilton family knows his name, and shared it with FOX6 News.

Through open records requests, FOX6 News has discovered he had six citizens' complaints filed against him with Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission.

Shirley Gilmore filed one of those complaints.

It was 11 years ago -- late September, 2003.

"I hear this banging at the door," Gilmore said.

Gilmore had returned to her Milwaukee condo after she heard there was an argument between her daughter and a friend.

"I`m trying to find out what`s going on at my home," Gilmore said.

Gilmore says an officer came to her door, accusing her of acting combatively. She says the situation escalated quickly.

"He was like, in his little rage. He was cursing and swearing like he was out of his mind. He grabbed me by my arms and threw me," Gilmore said.

Gilmore was taken into custody for obstructing and disorderly conduct.

"At that moment, I was really afraid for my life. It was just scary," Gilmore said.

Gilmore filed a complaint against the officer -- saying he used excessive force and acted unprofessionally.

"That particular officer, he should not even be working," Gilmore said.

The officer said he did nothing wrong, and that Gilmore was the abusive one.

Five years later, the Fire and Police Commission made its ruling -- finding the officer used "no more force than was reasonable and necessary." The Fire and Police Commission did agree his "use of profanity...was unwarranted, unnecessary and unprofessional."

The officer was ordered to be retrained in communications. He was retrained in May of 2006 -- completing 16 hours of training.

"It was just unfair.  It was just unfair, the whole thing.  It was just not right," Gilmore said.

Gilmore says the decision wasn't harsh enough.

"Why is he still on the force?  Why?" Gilmore said.

11 years later, the same officer is the one Hamilton's family says killed 31-year-old Dontre. A decision on whether that was justified hasn't yet been made.

"He has no right to be holding a position like that. It`s for the honorable people and he`s not," Gilmore said.

Gilmore reached a plea deal in her case -- and avoided jail time.

CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the Dontre Hamilton case via FOX6Now.com.

14 comments

  • soulobigdaddy

    if it was your family, I’m sure you would be singing a different tune. I Pray you aren’t a cop but it’s possible because some of them, share your wicked, racist attitude. For all any one of us know, that cop could have just pumped 14 bullets into that man simply because he could. The fact that he had 6 complaints filed against him makes that more than possible…people like u sicken me

  • Mick

    No, I’m not a cop but my former job (I’m retired) put me in direct contact with criminals, white, black and so on… I have NO pity for any criminals, including a relative of mine, who I was ready to shoot dead back in 94… All this BS protesting wont change a thing until YOU people change…

  • LEOPOLD THE IV

    Blah Blah Blah. Let’s look at the perp and his past versus the peace officer. I’m sure he was a model citizen.

  • Wischneider

    Why are they still reporting on this? Nobody cares, and the small-scale riots/protests/traffic blocking only serve to turn people against these idiots.

  • Amber

    He’s still on the force because he is an excellent officer who was put int a horrible position that nobody should ever be put in. And his decision saved his life. Just hope you never find yourself in that position.

  • Semper Fidelis, USMC

    I am a combat Marine Corps veteran, 2 things bother me here, one the family SHOULD know what happened, such as the police officers medical report, an outcome of a investigation should not take 6 months, tell what happened and move on, wait number 3 bothers me also, killing /shooting a man because your a crazy cop or a good cop doing your job is all good, but it sure doesn’t take 14 bullets to put someone down, that’s a total overkill any way you look at it. I think the officer should be at least fired. Carry On, Semper Fidelis, USMC SGT.

  • TiredOfIgnorance

    First of all, what crime was being committed in this situation? Taking a nap in a park? You keep referring to the victim as a criminal which clearly just displays your racist mentality. With 6 citizen complaints, we’ve only heard the details of one. But from several other statements that have come from people who have had encounters with this officer, he has displayed some serious character flaws and abuse of his power. The bottom line is the victim did not have a deadly weapon. IF he took the officer’s baton, in defense the officer could have shot to injure, not to kill. There is absolutely no excuse for 14 shots. He was clearly acting out of pure emotion. But YOU people don’t understand that until someone may break into your home, provoke an altercation, then shoot you or your loved one 14 times…then all of the sudden its no laughing matter…karma

    • TIREDOFIGNORANCEISIGNORANT

      Oh look, another one of those IGNORANT Monday morning armchair “shoot him in the leg” people. How ironic.

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