Police Abuse

Scott Walker Doesn't Know If Correct Decision Was Made in Dontre Hamilton Investigation, Not Getting Involved


Scott Walker
Gage Skidmore

Earlier this month, a Wisconsin state investigation found Officer Christopher Manney justified in the shooting of the mentally ill Dontre Hamilton after engaging the man for sleeping on a park bench. Manney had been fired by the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) anyway, for not following procedure in the lead up to the shooting. Manney was the third officer to respond to the same call about Hamilton—the first two cops found no problem with him.

The state investigation was the first under a new law championed by the father of a police shooting victim meant to provide a more independent review of police shootings. Nevertheless, half of the state agents on the investigation, including the lead, were former members of the MPD.

In a year-end interview, the Associated Press asked Gov. Scott Walker (R), who signed the police shooting review bill into law, about the decision in the Hamilton case:

Gov. Scott Walker says he doesn't know whether the decision not to file charges against a white Milwaukee police officer who shot and killed a black man in a city park earlier this year was correct or not.

Walker told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that he doesn't have all the information in the case and he's not looking to get involved.

While at least Walker didn't back a decision he wasn't versed in, it's disappointing the potential presidential candidate isn't taking the opportunity to own a piece of legislation that could, implemented properly, do a lot in bringing accountability to police violence. Owning it would require getting involved.

NEXT: Free Speech Review: 22 Significant, Silly, or Otherwise Noteworthy First Amendment Cases From 2014

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Weren’t the cops also one of the few not affected by Walker’s throwdown with the public sector unions a while back?

    1. Yes, firefighters too.

  2. half of the state agents on the investigation, including the lead, were former members of the MPD.

    What a remarkable coincidence!


    1. I don’t think Walker wants to get involved with Goethe either.

  4. Who called the police over somebody sleeping on a park bench in the first place?

    Was he hurting anybody? Obviously no. Was he even causing a nuisance? Obviously no.

    Was it the SAME person who called three times, unhappy that nothing was done the first two times (because nothing was actually happening that required a police intervention)? I’m sure he’s really happy his “problem” got solved.

    Also, seriously Milwaukee? You don’t train your cops on how to manage a mentally ill person? SERIOUSLY?

    1. Three cops responded to the same SINGLE call.

      1. “Three cops responded to the same SINGLE call”

        Although it says that in the article, I doubt that is the case. More likely the same person called mutiple times as each investigating cop did nothing.

    2. Handling a mentally ill person isn’t simple, and takes more training and experiencer than police are likely to get. Seriously. That doesn’t mean that this cop wasn’t grievously in the wrong; I have no idea, though these days I am inclined to the presumption that he was.

      The core issue here, I suspect, is that cops are asked to enforce a wide variety of laws written by people who will never be up the sharp end. I’m not chanting “thin blue line” here; I’m saying that some of the laws I’ve seen proposed seem to assume that it is reasonable to expect cops to be high grade social workers as well as law enforcers. LAws are written, for example, that prohibit some kinds of camping out in parks while making exceptions according to policies complicated enough to make a civl rights lawyer cream his jeans. The cop on the scene is supposed to make a complex decision on spec.

      1. cntd.
        How about we go back to vagrancy laws? I’m sure we could come up with something simple; you may sleep on private property with the permission of the owner. You may NOT sleep on public property, because you may not monopolize public property. If you appear to be vagrant, and annoy provide proof that you are not, you are invited to sleep in the local lock-up. Roof, simple food, showers, access to laundry. If you avail yourself of these facilities, a social worker will contact you to work on your problems. If you decline the offer of a roof, you will be asked to make your own arrangements or face a low level arrest.

        We could make room in the prisons by ending the freaking Drug War. And we could use the money from stopping THAT idiocy to hire the necessary social workers.

        I know. Pipe dream. Still, it would relieve the cops of a lot of complexity; “Come on Otis, we’ll let you sleep it off in a cell.” instead of “Is he an danger to himself? Is he mentally affected or simply a sloppy drunk? Is he, is he, is he?”

        1. Jibber jabber, Scho.

          Laws will be broken. Cops will be called. A small margin of these cops will kill.

          Problem is, the society-fucking F.O.P. will not erase murdering cops from its ranks.

          The first two cops who showed up were model cops in this instance. Leave the homeless fucker alone and go back to the fucking diner and finish your coffee and goddamn cheese sandwich. I’m cool with this.

          Cop three is cop filth and should be sent to prison. Problem is, no form of justice exists to send on-the-job-cops-who-‘murder’ to prison. Murdering cops get ‘fired’, praised, or moved in most cases.

          Not talking about cops who are verified to have killed in proven self defense.

          1. Agile Cyborg’s read:
            Cop 1: What he is doing is illegal, but I don’t want to be bothered by getting him to move along to a place, where he can, legally sleep.
            Cop 2: Same as Cop 1.
            Cop 3: I’m gonna shoot this guy!
            I have a feeling there is more to this than the third cop coming into the scene, with guns blazing.
            But don’t let some logic, or intelligence get in the way of the anarchists at REASON.

            1. Retired, drink some wine, girlfriend.

            2. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

        2. Is he, is he, is he?”

          Just another of many examles of da Patriarchy.

          Is she, is she , is she ?

          WAR ON WOMENZ.

    3. Also, seriously Milwaukee? You don’t train your cops on how to manage a mentally ill person? SERIOUSLY?

      The term “mentally ill” is so broad that it ceases to be informative not to mention that it often gets applied too liberally. And one of the difficulties in training officers to deal with truly mental ill people is the range that clinical mental illness can take from schizophrenic to dissociative to MR. Rather reinforces CSPS’s point about not having cops act as social workers.

      1. You know who else used mental illness as an excuse to murder people?

      2. Mentally ill= grumpy from being woken up three times in one night.

  5. Walker just doesn’t want to become the next De Blasio. Show some balls Walker.

    1. Walker is fighting a vicious war with the OTHER public employee unions. A war to the knife, with few niceties observed. IF he wins, there may be indictments speed all over the other side, and if he loses he will probably spend the next decade (at least) in legal trouble. He doesn’t want to open up another front. That isn’t lacking balls, that’s lacking hubris.

      Yes, it would be nice to have a politician whose morals, ethics, and position allowed him to fight all abuse on all levels. Not going to happen, outside of bad films, though.

    2. This is a state body/investigation, not local, right?

      So I do agree that Walker needs to get directly involved.

      Reopening this case is probably not a good way to go about it.

      I would approach it with “as we learn how to do this, we really need to make this an independent board. And that means, no cops or ex-cops. I want all the cops and ex-cops off this board ASAP.”

      1. Add in their immediate families.

      2. The governor is not supposed to be micromanaging everything that happens in the state government.

  6. Look on the brightside, folks… on any given night at least 66% of MPD can manage not to murder a person for no reason at all.

    That’s progress.

    1. Not really, it’s not the same 66% every night.

      1. Don’t be all math depressing

  7. All the other cops in the world get it right, tho, praise the lord and govie baby.


    Smoochez Dunphy the Fake Artiste’ and, us, the entirety of the American race that cannot live without our lovely sense of order.

  8. While at least Walker didn’t back a decision he wasn’t versed in, it’s disappointing the potential presidential candidate isn’t taking the opportunity to own a piece of legislation that could, implemented properly, do a lot in bringing accountability to police violence. Owning it would require getting involved.

    That’s not entirely fair. The interview source also had this bit:

    Walker says he thinks the law requiring an independent review of officer-involved shootings was helpful in the case.

    He’s owning the legislation he signed into law and thinks the process is an improvement, but he’s not going to comment on case facts he’s not privy to, which is at least better than bragging about how it was the right decision. And I’m not to keen on him owning this legislation if the independent review agency is comprised heavily of retired (and pension double-dipping) officers from the very agency under review. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Officer Manney ends up working at the very same independent review agency tasked with reviewing future officer involved shootings, while collecting his disability benefits. It’s also absurd that he should be able to collect disability benefits from the very incident he was fired over.

  9. “That investigation has now found Manney was justified in shooting the unarmed Hamilton 14 times…”

    Fourteen times? I wonder what happens when a non-cop shoots someone 14 times in self defense……

    1. Tony Soprano showed more restraint than Manney.

  10. Wow. Reason isn’t even waiting for the year before the presidential election to start nitpicking at potential GOP candidates.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.