- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced Monday he would not bring charges against former police Officer Christopher Manney over the April 30 shooting of Dontre Hamilton. Some excerpts from Chisholm’s report and investigative materials released with the decision:


Manney is heard calling in on his police radio right after the confrontation, breathless: “Guy started beating me, started beating me, my baton, was going to hit me in the head with my own baton, shots fired. Starbucks, Starbucks, help right now. Get me medical, too, he’s going to need medical, shots, multiple times in the chest, black male he’s about 20.” Later, Manney calls in again: “I don’t even know if I was hit, it was close combat. I need an officer to help me here too.”


A medical examiner’s report found Hamilton suffered 21 gunshot wounds - 15 entry wounds and six exit wounds. The examiner couldn’t determine the order in which the wounds occurred. The report also said there was “no conclusive evidence that any of the rounds were discharged while Hamilton was in a prone position.” Hamilton’s family had previously released much of the autopsy results, with an attorney highlighting the downward trajectory of some shots and suggesting they showed that Manney was standing above Hamilton.


The report said Manney was treated for a bite to his right thumb, a right neck strain and a contusion on the right side of his neck. It also says he was later treated for post-concussion syndromes and mild traumatic brain injury, and underwent physical therapy for bicep and rotator cuff injuries.


Chisholm consulted two outside experts. Lt. Patrick Martin of Greenfield Police Department, described as a certified use of force instructor for the state as well as a trainer of police officers at Milwaukee Area Technical College, called Manney’s use of force justified “throughout the entire incident.” Emanuel Kapelsohn of the Peregrine Corporation, whom Chisholm described as a frequent expert witness in use-of-force cases, agreed.

Kapelsohn also found that the “13 or 14” shots that Manney fired was not excessive. He wrote they would have been fired in 3 to 4 seconds, and an officer needs some reaction time to stop firing from the moment they perceive a threat has ended. At Chisholm’s news conference to announce the charging decision, he played a videotaped demonstration that timed 14 shots from a gun like Manney’s at just under 4 seconds.


Chisholm wrote that Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams examined the question of whether homicide charges were appropriate against Manney. Williams wrote that the question boiled down to whether the officer used the proper force to end the threat to himself. With “almost all witnesses” asserting that Hamilton appeared to be attacking Manney, the assistant prosecutor said he did. “The amount of force is difficult to question when someone is being attacked by someone with a police baton.”

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