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City leaders updated on officer-involved shooting…so what did they learn?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Looking for answers. Wednesday, May 21st marked three weeks to the day since a mentally-ill man was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer inside Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee — and Alderwoman Milele Coggs wants answers. Coggs requested an update from MPD and the Fire and Police Commission regarding this incident -- and a forum was held on Thursday at Milwaukee's City Hall.

"I think it is always critically important for us to take a closer look," Coggs said.

Dontre Hamilton

Dontre Hamilton

31-year-old Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer inside Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on April 30th.

According to police, the incident began when a foot patrol officer on his beat learned of “trouble with a suspect” in Red Arrow Park.

Police say the officer encountered Hamilton laying on the ground.

Police say the officer helped him to his feet — and was attempting to conduct a field interview.

The officer was patting Hamilton down when a struggle ensued.

The officer withdrew his wooden baton to defend himself, and police say Hamilton took the officer’s baton from him and began striking him in the head.

That’s when police say the officer withdrew his service weapon — a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson — and fired “several shots” at Hamilton — striking him several times, ultimately causing his death.

Chief Flynn indicated during the news conference that Hamilton was diagnosed with schizophrenia — and had a history of mental illness and criminal activity.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Justice is the outside agency leading the investigation into this incident -- as now required by law.

Gov. Walker recently signed into law a bill that requires an outside agency investigate officer-involved shootings.

"Because it is a pending investigation, they have no information to share at this time. When the investigation is complete, we will get a copy of it at the same time that the District Attorney gets a copy of it," MPD Chief of Staff Joel Plant told those gathered inside City Hall on Thursday -- including Dontre Hamilton's family.

That's not what Dontre Hamilton's family wanted to hear.

"We're still waiting on answers. They didn't tell us anything in there," Hamilton's brother told FOX6 News.

Alderwoman Coggs also wanted MPD to talk about officer training when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill.

MPD Inspector Carianne Yerkes discussed the voluntary Crisis Intervention Team -- or CIT.

"When you go through CIT training -- one of the things we really try to emphasize is de-escalation and dialogue," Yerkes said.

Twenty percent of MPD officers have been CIT trained.

The officer who shot and killed Hamilton was NOT CIT trained -- according to Yerkes.

Hamilton's family's attorney questioned why the officer who shot Hamilton did not contact an officer who had been through the training.

"That's the concern I have. From the initial contact this officer had, what did he realize? What did he think? What should he have done? That's what the family has concerns about," Jonathan Safran said.

A couple members of the city of Milwaukee's Public Safety Committee suggested that ALL MPD patrol officers should undergo the CIT training.

The plan now is to bring all the involved parties back together after the investigating is complete -- and discuss the shooting in Red Arrow Park and existing policies in detail.


  • Mark

    Maybe the family should have not given up on their son/brother. What is Alderman Cocks doing about the mentally ill in the city?

  • T Stone

    So the cops are supposed to know immediately if a person is mentally ill? The MPD should mount an immediate recruiting campaign to hire only cops with ESP.

  • mr crowley

    Why was he homeless if his family cared so much about him? now they only care since that pos safran is involved and see dollar signs which theyll spend on rims cheetos and crack

  • Carla Hunt

    Maybe if he hadn’t attacked the officer, the officer would have had the opportunity to call someone with CIT training to handle the situation.

  • Gary Hamilton

    I agree with all the other comments. The police officer was being attacked. The mentally ill don’t wear a shirt saying they have mental health problems. The police officer was defending himself and the public.

  • hmmm

    The problem is that we need more help for the Mentally ill in Milwaukee County. This young man should have been helped long before this happened. All police officers should receive this training. I know where i work i am sent to numerous training’s per year (which are MH or criminal justice focused). So far this year i have been to 5, one per month. They are not long training’s, maybe a half day or one full day. But provide valuable information.

    I do understand it is hard to have these police officers off the streets for the time it takes to get to training, but its valuable for both the officer and the public that they attend. I do believe that this CIT training would be longer than one day but it seems like it could be helpful to everyone.
    Whenever someone can continue their education and learn new skills it benefits everyone.

    I also agree that the family should have helped him if they loved him so much. It’s not easy dealing with someone who is mentally ill, but the family could have done. So no one person is to blame, we have to look at the County, the officer’s training (not the officer in himself, no one wakes up as a police officer and says oh i hope to shoot someone today), and the family.

  • steve

    how many bullets does an MPD officer need to put into a body until he feels safe? did he feel better after the fourth shot? the fifth shot? was the sixth pull of the trigger the one that removed the immediate danger? what about the seventh? do you think his heart rate slowed after the eighth shot? was he out of danger after the ninth shot? what was it about the tenth bullet the officer fired that made the difference?

  • dianne

    how many times was the officer struck with his own batton? once twice three times nine times?None of us were there let the investigation be completed, the mentally ill do need help but the laws aren’t like they use to be and sociaty decided it was better for them to be free, and there aren’t the inpatient treatments any longer, Milwaukee County is trying to downsize and or clsoe the behavorial health services and make all the services outpatient or in the community, families and friends will need to step it up a notch and fill in the gaps, sad but true, don’t just be there when something awful happens and you have “a lawyer” and media coverage…be there when you are needed!!!even if you need to open your own pocket book

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