The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it will review the fatal shooting of a black man, Dontre Hamilton, by a white Milwaukee police officer to determine if it should pursue a federal civil rights prosecution.
The announcement came hours after local District Attorney, John T. Chisholm, decided not to charge former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney with any criminality in the shooting — saying he "was justified in firing” at Hamilton on April 30.
Hamilton, Chisholm said, had taken Manney's baton while the officer was responding to a complaint about a man sleeping in a public park, and Manney was attempting to "stop the threat."
In a statement, Chisholm said "the more difficult issue" was determining whether Manney — who shot Hamilton, 31, at least 13 times — fired more shots than he needed to subdue Hamilton. But many witnesses testified that Manney stopped firing when Hamilton fell to the ground, prompting Chisholm to rule that the shots were a "defensive action forced upon him by Dontre Hamilton's deadly attack with a police baton."
The U.S. Justice Department said its Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for eastern Wisconsin would conduct the review. After the shooting, Milwaukee's police chief fired Manney for failing to follow department rules in the moments leading up to the altercation, resulting in a struggle that left deadly force as the officer's only option.
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