“We will let our voices be heard:” Family, friends rally five months after Dontre Hamilton was shot & killed

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Tuesday, September 30th marked five months since Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer inside Red Arrow Park. About 100 supporters of Dontre Hamilton gathered to rally on Tuesday evening to mark the anniversary of his death.

Since 31-year-old Hamilton's death in April, his family and supporters haven't sat quiet. They've held several demonstrations -- and they've made it clear to city leaders they won't stop anytime soon.

On Tuesday evening -- another demonstration the city has come to recognize. Supporters of Dontre Hamilton gathered to make another plea for answers and a demand for justice. They carried a casket through the streets of downtown Milwaukee.

"Just too long, you know. We're hurting," Hamilton's brother, Nathaniel said.

Hamilton’s family members are awaiting a charging decision by the District Attorney’s Office. They and others have called for the officer’s name to be made public, and for details on the injuries the officer is said to have suffered prior to the shooting.

The District Attorney’s Office has asked for a second independent investigation in the case. The state DOJ’s Department of Criminal Investigation has already completed its independent investigation, as required by law, and has handed its report over to the District Attorney’s Office.

"How many months do we have to re-live this, before we get answers? Before we get true answers?" Nathaniel Hamilton said.

Before Tuesday's march, police offered assistance, and warned arrests could be made.

"We are here to facilitate demonstrations and protests. That's what the police should do. We can no longer tolerate the blocking of freeways or blocking of intersections," MPD Deputy Inspector Stephen Basting said.

On Thursday, Hamilton's family members said they would no longer participate in disruptive marches like one that happened last week.

"We won't march just to disrespect community members, but we'll march to a destination and when we get to that destination, we will let our voices be heard," Nathaniel Hamilton said.

Police blocked roads as protesters marched. No arrests were made, and no citations were handed out.

Last Wednesday evening, friends and family members of Dontre Hamilton gathered for a rally and it led to streets being shut down during rush hour.

The group marched to City Hall in the hopes of getting a meeting with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. When they didn’t hear from him, the demonstrators took to the streets.

Chants for justice echoes throughout downtown Milwaukee as demonstrators marched down Water Street — eventually making their way to I-794 near Jackson and Van Buren — blocking a ramp on I-794 — where about 100 cars were trying to exit. They walked up the ramp, and were quickly stopped by approaching Sheriff’s deputies in both vans and on motorcycles — and police officers on motorcycles.

The demonstrators then turned around walked back down the ramp — continuing to march on busy downtown Milwaukee streets. Demonstrators chanted as frustrated drivers honked and yelled.

That rally raised questions about the Milwaukee Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office's handling of protesters who block streets and disrupt traffic.

Following that rally, Jonathan Safran, the attorney for Dontre Hamilton's family said in the 24 hours following the protest, the family participation in the protests. They now say they're done disrupting traffic and are asking others to follow suit.

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Meanwhile, Milwaukee County Alderwoman Milele Coggs announced she has sent a letter to the state's Department of Justice asking that the report conducted by the DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation be released in accordance with the state's Open Records Law.

Coggs has issued the following statement:

"Last week I sent a letter to the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, asking under the provisions of Wisconsin’s Open Records law for a copy of the report conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) into the death of Mr. Dontre Hamilton. Today marks five months to the day since he was shot in Red Arrow Park. 

It is my understanding that the report was completed nearly one month ago and turned over to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. As, by definition, the investigation by the CID is complete, I can see no reason—legal or otherwise—why this report should now be withheld. 

My hope is that the state DOJ will review this request and, as these reports are a new kind of record, affirm my belief that they are public records subject to full disclosure. More importantly, I am also hopeful that the DOJ will release the report so that it can be shared with the Hamilton family and the public as soon as possible. 

For the sake of transparency, the public deserves access to the information that is contained in the CID report, and I see no reason why it cannot be released. Unfortunately the District Attorney is still examining the case to determine whether any charges should be filed against the police officer who shot Mr. Hamilton. However, there is no legal reason, in my view, to withhold the CID report until the DA’s decision is announced.

The new state law requiring review of in-custody deaths by an outside agency has flaws, but I believe the delay in releasing information from the investigation into the death of Mr. Hamilton is unnecessary and has made the situation for the grieving Hamilton family that much more painful." 

READ IT: Letter sent by Milele Coggs to the state's DOJ

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

23 comments

  • diane

    Arrest any one who walks in a street..blocks a roadway..a.sidewalk ..an entrance to a business…organizations need permits to have parades..to have streets shut down. …zero tolerance for anyone that breaks the law…by blocking street traffic…no respect for their cause..they have caused chaos..and are disrespectful of other people. .where were these people in dontre ‘s life when he needed them…..all the family sees now is $$$$$… which they will most likely get and I hope all the people dontre’s estate owes in ccap….and any one who has a lawsuit against his mom…etc…get what is owes them….and it is bogus to say he had future earnings…he didnt work…geez…..also if it is during working hours it will be quite obvious. None of the protesters…have a job….hope the decision comes soon. …and if it isnt what they want to hear…which it might not be…I am sure it will Like fergusen. ..and that type of behavior should not be tolerated…not for one minute

  • LEOPOLD LICHTENSTEIN IV

    Vat is this all about? They must be not vorking and taking from the Government with so much time on their hands. This would never happen in Vaduz. Marching is bad for one’s health especially when impeding traffic of the hard working people that are just getting by without any handouts.

    • Derrick

      And you know they don’t work, how? I work full time, work well over 40 hours a week, and I could have made every single one of these protests. Also, what are you doing on fox6now.com at 8:57 am? Don’t you work! Jeeze, by then I already had 5 hours in …

      • diane

        Hello I work.off..shifts..so you are telling me.all these protesters…work an off shift…really….and they dont have kids to take care of laundry or meals to make..how many do you think are gettingb a free phone..free health care..a government check of some sort. ..yeah they all are gainfully employed. Lol

    • Derrick

      What gives you the expertise to make such a claim? I’ve shot guns before, laying down, quiet in the woods, at a target nailed to a tree … I still missed. Now, let’s bring adrenaline into the picture, which makes your hands shake, let’s not forget the suspect usually is moving, and honestly, so much more plays in. Not agreeing with the officer shooting in the first place is a valid concern, but how many times or where an officer shoots shouldn’t be. Once an officer pulls the trigger, he is trying to KILL the suspect.

  • rj

    I hate these people. This thug is dead because of his own actions. Why don’t you all go protest on 27 and north or ceter or locust.

    • rj

      Sorry my man, I’m not a racis. I’m white and my wife is African American. We just watch the news and u r right milwaukee will never change, just way to many ghetto thugs.

  • LEOPOLD LIECHTENSTEIN IV

    This is clearly a case of cop vas assaulted by a criminal element. If it took only one shot or 50 to put down the felon it wouldn’t make any difference. The American Black community wants to find the good peace officer guilty to advance their liberal looting agenda, for them to accept another outcome is not acceptable. We must put a stop to this inner city community activists and unemployed perpetrators of hate. If he was white this would never have made the news. Please quit annoying the taxpayers with your futile efforts to elude your inner city problems. Taxpayers have had enough of your ongoing baby momma and daddy problems of disfunctional non existent family values. I will take leave of you now. Remember, keep your illegal guns at home and don’t shoot your black brothers.

  • Kris

    I don’t understand why they have to stop or block traffic. the people in their cars trying to get home to their families did not shot the victim. go protest in front of the police captains home, or in front of the court house.

  • Christopher

    While attention definitely needs to be given to the fact information is not being released in any reasonable time frame, I find it offensive that Mrs. Coggs puts out press releases and send letters on one case when we have had almost 400 shootings predominantly affecting young black men in milwaukee. Where is Mrs. Coggs on this issue? Like many other leaders-MIA

    • Bill Watts

      I know Q, my dad raised me so proper and to respect all mankind, but even he’s saying now that it’s getting hard to fight. And where in the world is Coggs when all these black baby’s are dying all the time? All these shooting victims that are unarmed in the inner city? If these people think they’re going to get Ferguson, Mo coverage here in Milwaukee they have another thing coming. And I am truly sorry to the Mother that she lost her son.

  • Reagan 84

    Why should these people work when our bleeding heart LIBERAL politicians want them on Gov assistance? Liberals would never get elected if they made lazy POS like these get jobs.

  • diane

    Protests are fine as long as they don’t impede on others rights to drive home..blocking streets sidewalks..etc is annoying alot of citizens…who either dont care or have a different opinion. ..what issues going to happen if…there are no charges?..or there are charges. ..but there is a not guilty verdict. …the family needs to respect others in order to gain respect for their cause…now they are a annoyance..and the general public is sick of it because they are disruptive…disrespectful. .and uncivilized..and appear to be concerned now..not earlier when he was out on the streets. .and needed this concern and love..also dont feel too bad for his mom…ccap..shows he harassed her too at some point….it is unfortunate he had too sleep on a public sidewalk which is not normal in any way

  • justaquestion

    Just wondering – this man was homeless and known to that part of the Downtown area. SO – where were all these caring “friends and family” at that time? Were they offering him shelter or to get him into mental health treatment?

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