Was a pat-down reasonable? Milwaukee Police Chief says Manney had “no good reason”

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Was a pat-down reasonable? It's the question that defines the debate over whether Christopher Manney should've been fired from the Milwaukee Police Department. Friday, a man who trains officers for a living took FOX6 News through the factors police must consider.

Brian Dorow runs the Criminal Justice Program at Waukesha Community Technical College. He does not comment on specific cases, but sat down with FOX6 News to talk about what an officer looks for when deciding whether a pat-down is necessary.

Again, Police Chief Ed Flynn says Officer Manney was fired, not for his use of deadly force -- but for his decision to pat-down Dontre Hamilton in the first place.

"Can the officer detect some type of violence erupting? Is the officer comfortable? Don't want to put the officer in any danger," said Dorow.

Criminal Justice Dean, Brian Dorow emphasizes each situation is unique, no one encounter is the same as another.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says, considering that two officers had previously checked on Dontre Hamilton twice that day, Officer Christopher Manney had no good reason to pat-down the 31-year-old man -- who relatives say was schizophrenic.

"We've got training and protocols that guide our approach to people that are apparently mentally ill. Going hand-on with a pat-down that was not justified by a reasonable suspicion resulted in the confrontation," said Flynn.

Manney shot Hamilton to death when police say Hamilton took Manney's baton during a struggle and hit the officer with it.

Police Union President, Mike Crivello, says Manney's firing is an outrage, that no one else knows what Manney saw and felt during that April encounter.

"It is an officer's assessment of the situation which determines whether an approach or safety pat-down is conducted -- not a bright-line rule reduced to confined reasoning in a book," said Dorow.

Dorow says each department has its own policy regarding reasonable suspicion. He adds, regardless of previous encounters, officers have to make decisions based on what they see in that very moment.

"These are the most challenging situations, okay? They're challenging because you encounter somebody, whether they're mentally ill or they're not, and there's always that concern - is this person armed? What threat do they present to me? said Dorow.

Dorow says whether one or two officers are at the scene should not be a deciding factor in whether police pat someone down. But again, he emphasizes every situation is unique -- that even in the same setting, the threat level can change from one encounter to the next.

25 comments

  • susan smith

    First, I wish they would show the Dontre of today. HE IS HUGE. Flynn is a coward shame on him and the Mayor. They have sacrificed this officer because they are afraid. THE OFFICER DID HIS JOB!

  • chris

    @ Semper Fidelis. How is he a wanna be cop? He was a cop and a police officer can conduct a pat down if he perceived a threat. This officer was fired only so libtard Barrett and Flynn could get the heat off of them. Plus nobody takes into consideration the adrenaline that starts flowing when someone is attacking you and you reasonably believe you are going to die. Take that fear mixed with adrenaline and panic and 14+ shots don’t sound too far fetched. How many rounds actually hit their target?

    • Ed Zachary

      He did not get killed for sleeping. He attacked a police officer. He took the officer’s baton and hit him with it. Why is that being glossed over? All Hamilton had to do was cooperate. Whether he thought being patted down was right or not, he was still not allowed to attack the officer.

    • rj

      Mr X-semper fidelis, usmc. Change your name u r bring shame to the 90% of marines who dont agree with your hippy views. Your new name: POG HIPPY.

    • Richard

      Where did you go to boot? What date did you graduate on? What were the names of your DI’s and Senior DI? What was your battalion and platoon number in boot? What was your MOS? What was the name of your CO and where did your “serve” in combat? What unit were you attached to?

      • diane

        you sound bitter and disgruntled? honerable discharge? I have relatives active duty can’t beleive how you talk a bit less than honerable..not one of the few proud? oh yeah rifleman …

      • Semper Fidelis

        Honorable discharge- yes ma’am I have 2, 75-79, 86-88, Diane, and I love life, wrong again! Judge, just because I think this officer went to far doesn’t make me a bad guy, i actually would love to see Flynn be gone, never liked Tom’s puppet boy. ps, I have respect for all police, my daughter is one, but I know a few that are not worthy of being police, they are the one’s that get bitter and disgruntled after time. (FACT) E5, that means leadership skills my friend.

  • WOLFGANG LEOPOLD LICHTENSTEIN IV

    Dis inequality in Milwaukee must stop. The Americans living in the most challenging areas of the city need to have more comfortable sorroundings. We should pump more money from the taxpayers to clean up the waste and filth to this area. We must give stipends to the poor so they may buy extra goods and even some nice appliances. We must help those that are living in this ghetto. Please everyone give 20 percent of your pay immediately to the government so they may distribute accordingly….O sorry I was having a flashback to the 60’s. Glad I woke up from that nightmare.
    Immediate shutdown of all entitlements. Have them roll their sleeves up like every other taxpayer and work themselves to the bone after they pull their pants off their butts.

  • Jagdpanther

    If a cop wants to pat you down and you have nothing to hide let him do it and if you feel it’s improper or unnecessary then file a complaint after the matter. Why grab his baton and attack him with it?
    If this thug had a gun and the officer didn’t pat him down and then he shot the cop his family would be saying it’s the cops fault for not patting him down first!
    Ridiculous. It’s just a money grab by his family – everyone knows it.

  • Melissa

    I see absolutely NO reason why a pat down was wrong! If I am confronting someone, then I want to know if they have access to a weapon! ESPECIALLY if it is a disturbed or potentially psychotic individual!

  • diane

    semper you are a disgrace to the few the proud..I have plenty of veteran and active duty including special forces active in my family and extended family your views are radical and not becoming.l.. there are bad in every walk of life and in every profession see you are an example of that it seems

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.