Sheriff Clarke calls Friday’s protest “mob rule”, Hamilton protesters wait outside Milwaukee jail

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MILWAUKEE (WITI)--  Sheriff Clarke calls the protest that resulted in 74 arrests “mob rule” during a press conference Saturday morning.  Meanwhile protesters, who are demanding charging decision in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, remain outside the Milwaukee County Criminal Justice Facility waiting for the release of those taken into custody.

In a press conference Sheriff Clarke told members of the media the protest that briefly closed I-43 during rush hour on Friday, was  dangerous and put the public at risk.

“Anarchist groups are exploiting tragic situations for their self serving and selfish needs to create enough chaos to destabilize government functions.  It’s a campaign of menace and we saw it on display last night,” said Clarke.

Clarke said if an emergency occurred on the interstate, law enforcement would not have been able to respond.

“What we saw last evening is what mob rule and mob behavior looks like,” said Clarke.

Sheriff David Clarke says he believes many of the protesters causing the traffic blockage were from anarchist groups, who are using the Dontre Hamilton shooting as an excuse to disrupt. Clarke says emergency vehicles could not get through the stopped traffic.

"The line on peaceful protest is a very bright line. Mob behavior will result in arrest," said Clarke.

74 people were arrested after the group protesters marched to I-43 at McKinley Avenue, and walked onto the interstate.  73 were adults and one was a juvenile.  Clarke says charges range from citations, to possible felony charges.

“The person who brought the juvenile with them will have the additional charge of delinquency of a minor along with other charges,” said Clarke.

Protesters say no one was ever in danger.

"It was safe, it was planned.  No pedestrians, no motorists were in danger," said Samuel Alford who was arrested Friday.

"We're not criminals, we're people standing for a just cause," added another.

The brother of Dontre Hamilton, Nate Hamilton says protests will continue.

"I'm sorry that we caused you a small inconvenience," said Nate Hamilton.

Clarke says those in the community frustrated by the amount of time it has taken for the district attorney to come up with a charging decision must find a better way to air their frustrations.

“I understand everyone’s frustration with District Attorney John Chisolm’s foot dragging,  and making a decision in the Dontre Hamilton case.  I can only imagine, because I have never gone through it,  I can only imagine what the Hamilton family is dealing with right now, but I can also say it has had a destructive effect on Milwaukee county,” said Clarke.

Clarke blasted DA John Chisolm, saying the length of time it has taken for a decision is “disturbing”.

“What is unique is John Chisolm has never taken this long to make a decision in the police use of force.  That’s why I call this delay quite frankly remarkable," said Clarke.

Meanwhile, protestors arrested Friday, started trickling out of the Criminal Justice Facility late Saturday morning.

“These people were arrested because they don`t like what happened to Dontre Hamilton. These people got arrested last night because they want to see officer Christopher Manney convicted,” said Pastor Richard Diaz.

“We`ve been marching in the street since day 1 and they haven`t made any arrests from that and now they say you guys are gonna get arrested if you march in the streets,” said Nate Hamilton.

Protesters say they will remain outside the Criminal Justice Facility until all of the protesters are released.

“We'll continue to protest, we'll continue to fight for justice,” said Nate Hamilton.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn also spoke on today's protesters. Here is the raw video.

FOX6 News is monitoring this story and will continue to update.


  • Reality Check

    Fellow readers, please carefully consider the facts at hand. Yesterday, I heard my very conservative, slightly racist elderly father say that he thinks the police officer may have used too much force in dealing with Dontre Hamilton. It was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth. He then proceeded to explain that l, as strongly as ge felt about it, the protestors have so strongly linked this case to otger, more questionable cases, to a national race issue, and to unions, that he doesn’t feel right getting involved. I would have to agree. When a group whose mission is to increase minimum wage starts sending activists to march and get arrested, one has to wonder why. Even my father, who is the last person I thought would beleive this, has great respect for Dontres mother Maria. It seems like Natre, who clearly has leadership skills has gotten swept up by the unions, anti police kids, etc. The fight for Dontre has gotten lost in a stew of other causes using this familys righteous anger and publicity to stay relevant. Its a shame. Can you imagine how much more powerful this movement for local justice would be if people like my father weren’t pushed out by all the other groups? There are tons of old white guys just like him that dont want liberty, more limited government and less overreactive law enforcement.

  • Laura Thompson

    “The rally and march began at Red Arrow Park. Protesters hoped to put pressure on the District Attorney to make a charging decision soon. That said, the Hamilton family has also said they do not want a decision before Christmas, saying it will ruin their holiday.” (…/dontre-hamilton-supporters-to-hold-an…/) So again, why are they protesting? Why is the family saying things like, just wait until this coming Tuesday? If you don’t want the decision out until after the holidays, then stick with that decision yourself. I do believe the DA was holding off his decision at the family’s behest, but now? I would just give the decision as long as they are planning protest after protest that’s more disruptive and dividing than the reason for the protest in the first place.

  • the truth

    All truthful posts one of any caliber..common sense has a voice only the criminal CCAP family nathanial maria..and their cronies..have a voice..even sheriff clarke chief flynn and the mayor seem to have had it..I hope they announce the decision soon…there will be no good time xmas eve migjt be the best..less media hype. ..national guard should be used..I am sure there are not enough grounds and if so ..there will still be a trial..and can they get a jury to convict..dont think so…they the hamiltons want to hang the officer from a branch in red arrow park..all because they couldnt save their own..they weren’t there for him..were afraid of dontre themselves and havent led their own lives..within the law either…will be glad when decision is announced.

    • 2ECOND

      Flynn and barrett are the cause of a lot of this nonsense, they BOTH need to go. Neither one of them support the officers. they have proved that time and time again.

  • dianne

    delete delete,, the truth is out there just isn’t allowed here….glad that the sheriff and the chief and now the mayor are condeming Fridays activities

  • Valarie Janowski

    This man was attacking the officer, the officer had no way of knowing that Mr. Hamilton was mental ill, with that being said, instead of wasting all this energy on protesting, why do they not get together and figure out a way so this does not happen again. Help figure out ways for our LE to be better equipped on handling the mentally ill, starting with a way to identify them from the start. Spend that energy in bettering our mental health care in our city so men like Mr. Hamilton are not out on the street and unmedicated. But no, it’s easier to protest, point the finger at a person who came upon a situation that was already spiraling out of control with Mr. Hamilton, as his own family could not do anything to help him. Stop wasting time and energy on protesting and start doing something positive in his name.

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