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31-minute vigil for 31 years of Dontre Hamilton’s life

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Dontre Hamilton's family and friends gathered in Red Arrow Park Friday night, May 2nd to remember the life of their loved on.

One minute for each year. A simple formula designed to make a powerful statement.

A family grieves, faces illuminated by candle light, and mourning in the spot where their loved one was shot and killed Wednesday, April 30th.

"We’re all just hanging in there. We’re all just holding tight on to each other," said Nathainel Hamilton, brother.

Police say 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton had been lying on the ground Wednesday in Red Arrow Park, when an officer came over to investigate. Authorities say Hamilton grabbed an officer's baton and starting beating him with it. That's when the officer shot and killed Hamilton.

His family says Hamilton suffered from mental illness and was unable to get help when he needed it.

"We’re going to honor his name in a positive way because he was a positive person," said Hamilton.

The family hopes his death raises awareness about mental illness and a need to do better.

"We want educated social workers, we want educated police. We have to continue pushing that as people, as a group being united as one," said Hamilton.

In mourning, this family hopes to bring change shining light on a place that days ago had darkness.

Hamilton's family says he was a very happy, peaceful person. They continue to look for answers and are waiting on outside investigation to be complete.


  • Devo

    Educated social workers? Yes, they have educations, most of them, but they are ham-stringed by bureaucracy and regulations, as well as bottom lines…. All brought to you by liberals, lawyers and government!

  • regee snow

    It wasnt MENTAL ILLNESS THAT KILLED Him!!!! This young man Ill or not was minding his own business . The Police tried to forceably try to violate his rights by searching him and if fight began that’s when the Police man PANIC AND OPENED FIRE AT CLOSE RANGE . AT WHAT TIME IF THE OFFICE FELT THAT HE WAS IN DANGER HE DIDNT CALL FOR BACK UP AND IF THERE WAS A DISTURBANCE CALL DOWNTOWN AROUND City hall there would have been more police called I worked downtown please believed more police would have been dispatched.Its seems since Mr Flynn stated they have had a run in with him before they new he was harmless. Sorry it seems to me that the police man was frustrated and that’s when a fight persuade. From the statements that are coming to light the young man wasn’t doing anything people were concerned because he was laying on ground. Please police Department admitted there was a terrible mistake and this young man was murder and discipline the Policeman.I don’t believe the Policeman Murdered him on purpose but he did and he need to be punished. Please no more cover ups.And let’s not try to REDIRECT the murder to the public and put the blame on mental illness!!

  • Dyann

    I meant regee. Sorry….you dont lay on the dont fight with police…you do not hit is unfortunate..and a tragedy..that this man died..and the current mental health system failed him..where was his family and friends when he needed them?…maybe they couldn’t reach him either..a sad tragic story all the way around…I am sure the officer feared for his life..and if Donated happened to kill him…what would be the conversation?

  • My Family

    This is my family and Dyann you don’t know the history behind this so maybe you should show some compassion. If it was your family member I wonder what your conversation would be. His family was involved in his life, I see by your comment you know nothing about mental illness and how people react when their approached in the middle of a schizophrenic episode because they were unable to receive the medication that they needed. So before you say things that are insensitive about people dealing with this illness everyday you should educate yourself. Because regardless of what you think the situation should of been handled differently and a life was loss.

    • Kristin

      God Bless your family. I’m so sorry that your loved one was failed by the mental health system. My heart breaks for you. You are right that most people don’t understand mental illness. I’m sorry you have to read ignorant comments at such a sensitive time. Just know that there are some people who understand and really feel for you.

  • Leo

    I feel bad for your lost and pray for strength through this. But I also have too say that as a Law enforcement officer myself I hope and pray for the officer involved too, please everyone show mercy and respect for this officer it’s not an easy thing he’s going through know that that is not what he wanted for dontre or his family. It’s not easy working in law enforcement and in your mind you’re thinking about getting home to your family safe and in one piece. You have to make difficult decisions. People also remember there is community activities to learn more about law enforcement such as a free citizen academy. Think about thus please and ps i am not an mpd police officer

  • Molly

    ITA leo the officer didn’t do anything wrong he qas defwnding himself from being beaten to death by someone that was causing harm. leave the officer alone he’s going through traumatic time too besides the suspect’s family.

    • blackghosteve

      At Molly the officer should never have been called, and the officer was clearly in the wrong, the other two officers didn’t see a problem with it, so why did he? -

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