MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- More than 100 Milwaukee police officers and police supporters packed City Hall on Thursday, October 16th in support of fired Officer Christopher Manney. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn on Wednesday announced he signed an order terminating Manney from the Milwaukee Police Department in connection with the shooting of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park on April 30th.
In firing Manney, Chief Flynn said his reason for doing so wasn’t Manney's deadly use of force, but rather, the events leading up to it.
Chief Flynn said he has reviewed every aspect of this incident, and has found that Manney violated the values of the Milwaukee Police Department in his handling of Dontre Hamilton. Chief Flynn said Officer Manney showed no malice in his actions on that April day, but he says Manney made errors in judgement. Chief Flynn said when Manney arrived at the scene he should have immediately assessed Hamilton as an “emotionally disturbed person” and treated him as such -- saying Manney's pat down of Hamilton escalated the situation -- leading to the fatal shooting.
“This was not a call of a mentally ill man waving a gun. This was not a call of a mentally ill man threatening to kill other people. This was a check welfare call. There’s a set of training and approaches that you are taught, and you don’t go hands on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill. There was no malice in his decision. He did not act outside of policy using the force he used. Bad tactics and bad decisions resulted in this escalation that necessitated a use of deadly force," Chief Flynn said during a press conference Wednesday.
Thursday afternoon at Milwaukee's City Hall, police officers stood in support of Manney as the leader of Milwaukee's police union and a Milwaukee alderman spoke out against Manney's firing.
Michael Crivello, the president of the Milwaukee Police Association and Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan say the decision to fire Manney was a political one -- meant to satisfy protesters who have been demonstrating all summer -- who have another demonstration planned for Thursday evening.
Crivello and Donovan were joined Thursday by dozens of officers who weren't shy about stating they no longer have confidence in Chief Flynn.
"In my opinion, (Manney) has become the scapegoat for the racially-charged political environment we live in," Alderman Donovan said to rounds of applause during Thursday's press conference.
Chief Flynn says Manney performed an unwarranted pat down of Hamilton, and that led to the altercation that ended when Manney shot Hamilton more than a dozen times. Crivello and Donovan are defending that pat down.
"It would be poor policing not to do so. Just ask any good cop and they`ll tell you," Alderman Donovan said.
The Milwaukee Police Association has provided FOX6 News a copy of a memo sent by Manney to Chief Flynn on October 1st. The officer writes his pat down of Hamilton "was completely reasonable, responsible and common sense, based on the circumstances."
When asked about the fact two officers had previously checked on Hamilton that April day in Red Arrow Park and didn't pat him down, Alderman Donovan and many of the Milwaukee police officers who packed City Hall got defensive.
During Wednesday's press conference, Chief Flynn said he knew his decision would upset many officers.
"The challenge is gonna be the initial reaction, which I expect and understand, which is anger, frustration and a sense of betrayal. I get it. I totally get it," Chief Flynn said.
Crivello is calling Chief Flynn's decision "unprecedented," and said it's left officers confused and betrayed.
"The fact that his political concerns outweigh his public safety concerns are rapidly breeding no confidence. Rapidly breeding no confidence," Crivello said.
FOX6 News asked Crivello whether the Police Association would consider taking a "no confidence" vote on Chief Flynn -- a question that brought loud applause from the police officers in attendance during Thursday's news conference. Crivello simply said he's listening to the members of the Police Association.
Meanwhile, supporters of Dontre Hamilton, who want to see criminal charges filed against Manney rallied again Thursday evening.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office will make the decision regarding whether charges will be filed against Manney. FOX6 News spoke with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on Thursday about this pending decision.
"I understand people want as much information as they can possibly get as quickly as they can. My obligation is to allow independent experts to complete their review and then assess whatever they give me before I make my final decision one way or the other," Chisholm said.
Chisholm added his decision is completely independent from the Milwaukee Police Department's decision to fire Manney.
Michael Crivello's statement issued Thursday is pictured below: