“We are still here:” Family to celebrate Dontre Hamilton’s life on one-year anniversary of his death

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The one-year anniversary of the shooting death of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton by former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney is Thursday, April 30th, and while Hamilton's family is still deeply saddened over their loss, they say they're grateful for the support from the community and the justice they have received.

Hamilton was shot and killed on April 30th, 2014 in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee. It happened after Milwaukee police got calls about a man sleeping in the park. Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney was terminated from the Milwaukee Police Department for his handling of Hamilton that day -- specifically for a pat down of Hamilton that violated his training. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm decided Manney would not be criminally charged in the case, but a Fire and Police Commission panel decided to uphold Manney's firing from MPD, and ruled that his use of force in this case violated policy.

Dontre Hamilton and Christopher Manney

"We are coming together to stand -- saying that we are still here. We will not leave until we get things right in our city, in our nation," Dontre Hamilton's brother Nate Hamilton said.

Nate Hamilton, joined by his mother, Maria last week said they want the one-year anniversary of Dontre Hamilton's death to be a reflective and celebratory day.

"We want it to kind of like a party almost atmosphere. We want to have food, want to have engagement for kids to come out and be a part of," Nate Hamilton said.

They say April 30th will also be a day to bring awareness to a greater cause.

"We understand that there is a big problem when the police department themselves see that (Manney) broke policy and our district attorney thought there was no reason to press charges against this officer. That shows us that there is something wrong with the way our system works. We ask that the federal department, that they make the right decision -- saying that he did something wrong and he`s going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Nate Hamilton said.

The Hamilton family and the Coalition for Justice have been looking into changing legislation.

On May,9th, Maria Hamilton will join other mothers who have lost children during violent encounters in Washington, D.C. -- for the “Million Moms March." It’s meant to get the attention of the federal government.

"May 9th will be the march for unity for all the moms across the U.S. that have lost their loved ones. We want the federal government to change the laws across the board. We need to have them set the laws up where the police chief and different areas of police officers across the U.S. have the same rules and regulations when protecting us," Maria Hamilton said.

The mothers of 25-year-old Brandon Johnson, 16-year-old Corey Stingley, and 19-year-old Tony Robinson will join Maria Hamilton in D.C. The Hamilton family says during the event held on the one-year anniversary of Dontre Hamilton's death in Red Arrow Park will also pay tribute to those families.

The event marking the one-year anniversary of Dontre Hamilton's death will be held on April 30th at 5:30 p.m. in Red Arrow Park. The community is invited.

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