Family of mentally ill Milwaukee man gunned down by police is awarded $2.3M

Today, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the estate and minor child of Dontre Hamilton settled their claims against former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher E. Manney and the City of Milwaukee for $2.3 million dollars. Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by the Milwaukee police officer on April 30, 2014. No charges were brought, but Manney was fired from the force.

The client’s share of the proceeds from the settlement will be placed in a fund that Dontre Hamilton’s son will receive after he becomes an adult.

People have asked Maria Hamilton, Nate Hamilton, Jr., Nate Hamilton, Sr., and Dameion Perkins, “What will you do with the money?” To clarify, the Hamilton parents and brothers were never plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Even though these individuals were never going to benefit financially from the lawsuit, they have sought to obtain accountability for the senseless loss of their son and brother, Dontre Hamilton, and to end future needless killings.  To hopefully set the record straight for the last time, the parents and brothers of Dontre Hamilton will not benefit financially from the settlement funds; Dontre was never homeless; and Dontre’s family actively supported and assisted him in getting the care that he needed for his mental illness prior to his April 30, 2014 shooting death.

The pursuit of this case would not have occurred without the heroic and motivating efforts of the Hamilton family.  It was the product of the capacity of Nate Hamilton, Jr., Dameion Perkins, the Coalition for Justice, and their supporters, to communicate their demand for justice in a peaceful and nonviolent manner.  It was also the result of the efforts of the Mothers for Justice United, founded by Maria Hamilton.  And it happened because the citizens of Milwaukee demanded equality and accountability for Dontre Hamilton’s death.

This settlement would not have occurred without the fact that policymakers and courts recognized that former Milwaukee Police Department Officer Manney violated Dontre Hamilton’s constitutional rights by conducting an illegal pat-down search, which started a chain of events that resulted in the tragic death of Dontre Hamilton. The settlement is a recognition and partial accountability of the violation, and reminds us that no parent, sibling, or child should have to endure such a loss.

Despite the fact that the Hamilton family lost Dontre, they want the community to continue to work with police departments and build relations that encourage the community to trust police officers and feel safe.  We must all be assured that when constitutional violations and injuries occur at the hands of law enforcement, every police officer and every citizen will demand accountability and change.

The Hamilton family insists that if more evidence is revealed in the future, Officer Manney should be subjected to the same criminal prosecution as that of any other citizen who unjustifiably took a human life.

This settlement will not bring Dontre Hamilton back, but his legacy will live on and hopefully protect others.  The Hamilton family hopes that the community will learn from these events, and that the healing process will continue.  Maria Hamilton will continue her work with Mothers for Justice United.  Maria Hamilton, Nate Hamilton, Jr., Nate Hamilton, Sr., and Dameion Perkins remain committed to locating and eradicating the injustices which have led to so many needless instances throughout our country that took the lives of citizens, and they will keep fighting for the day when people of all colors can feel as valid and safe as any other.

Maria Hamilton, Nate Hamilton, Jr., Nate Hamilton, Sr., Dameion Perkins and Dontre Hamilton’s son are thankful for the support which they have received over the last three-plus years.

This statement is being provided with the encouragement of Dontre Hamilton’s family and with the involvement of their attorneys at the Law Offices of Jovan Blacknell, and Law Offices of Ian Wallach, P.C.

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

2 Comments
  1. Manney should have been fired. He initiated an illegal search that violated Hamilton’s right against unreasonable search.

    The lawsuit, however, was frivolous. Hamilton escalated the situation that led to his own death when he attacked Manney. I understand that he was mentally ill, but an assault by a mentally ill person can be just as deadly as an assault by a sane person.

  2. giving family money as compensation is the same as paying them to be quiet , why pay? who will benefit from the money and why , it want bring him back or bring world peace,, .yet society has started to pay people for a crime that instead needs the cop to be punished that would fit the crime and punishment for americans expecially black families ,,, .. you cant take a life and not pay for it .. cops are covered under some goverment law that makes them hard to be prosecuted due to the fact they are sworn to uphold the law and trained to shoot to kill? why shoot to kill , if we are innocent until proven guilty? which make our justice system a big ass lie .. . we need to change laws governing arrest false imprisonment and profiling. tamir rice didnt stand a chance he was black with a toy in his hand and was shot down like adog. white folks treat dogs better than blacks . you kill a dog you may get life. ummm really””” , cops . they clearly are not equip to handle the public, a gun in the hand of a racist soldier terrrist is a life gone for every and no punishment for the killer ,cops are killers from afghanistan terrist not all of them but most.. did they just start to be this disfunctional no the soldier exiting war were racist idiots when they went in the military ever notice how the black soliders dont fool with the white ones .??? this is why black males dont want to go into the army . racism is allowed there more than anywhere , so what do you expect them to be . . and please stop hiring ex marines for cop jobs . they are stupid murder minded racist fools . our children are unsafe our men are unsafe ..

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