December 8, 2014

Obviously and unfortunately, there are many similarities among the matters involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner in New York and the Dontre Hamilton situation here in Milwaukee. Actually, it is even clearer than in the other two cases that the victim (Mr. Hamilton) was not approached by a police officer based on an alleged reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, as there was no suspicion of crime in Mr. Hamilton’s case, and still the interaction led to the same outcome – his death at the hands of a police officer.

In the aftermath of Mr. Hamilton’s death, Mr. Hamilton’s family and the protesters, whose frustrations are understandable, have generally been peaceful. The Milwaukee Police Department and its officers have generally been restrained in their response. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, to his credit, took the action of dismissing the officer for violating policy and procedures.

Mr. Hamilton’s family and the Milwaukee Community await the decision of Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm whether to charge the officer. His process has been very deliberate and it is now more than seven months since Mr. Hamilton’s death. We trust that this means that Mr. Chisholm is being thorough, but it is now time for his decision. We have all witnessed the very questionable outcomes in Ferguson and New York. Remember, the question before those grand juries was not whether the officer was guilty (a matter for trial), but whether there was enough of a question for the matter to go to trial in the first place. We do not have grand juries in Wisconsin and the decision in the Hamilton case will be made by District Attorney Chisholm. While many are skeptical, there is still an opportunity for an outcome that is consistent with notions of fairness and justice. We need to restore trust in our justice system.

James H. Hall, Jr., President
Fred Royal, President-Elect
NAACP – Milwaukee Branch

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on December 08, 2014

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