Conflict of interest? Some state investigators who worked Dontre Hamilton case used to work for MPD

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn on Wednesday, October 15th announced the police officer who shot and killed 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park on April 30th has been fired. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is still trying to decide whether Christopher Manney will face criminal charges. A new state law requires officer-involved deaths be investigated by an outside agency. In this case, the state's Department of Criminal Investigation handled the case -- and as it turns out, some of the state investigators who worked the case used to work for the Milwaukee Police Department.

The Department of Criminal Investigation has handed its investigation into the fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office. That office will decide whether charges will be filed against Manney.

FOX6 News has learned the special agent who signed over the case is retired from the Milwaukee Police Department. That bothers those who pushed hardest for the new law.

"There`s a perception of impropriety there," Michael Bell said.

Bell helped to lead the push for the bill that became Act 348 this spring. The new law requires an outside agency handle the investigation into officer-involved deaths.

Bell's son was killed by Kenosha police in 2004.

In the case involving the death of Dontre Hamilton, Bell says he worries state investigators who used to work for the Milwaukee Police Department were biased in their handling of the case.

"I`d like to think not, that they`re true professionals and did the job the way it`s supposed to be done with all the integrity possible," Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) said.

Rep. Bies sponsored the police oversight bill. He says he trusts the state agents to be impartial, but says he can see how their ties to MPD could make the public suspicious.

"I would`ve thought that whoever made those assignments maybe would`ve considered those issues and knowing the nature of the whole situation would`ve made a better decision and put a different investigator on," Rep. Bies said.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday:

"Representative Bies has not expressed any concerns to us about the Hamilton matter or anything else related to local law enforcement's responsibility under law. The Department of Justice has fulfilled its duty pursuant to Act 348."

In his press conference Wednesday afternoon, Chief Flynn said there's a good reason those investigators were put on the case.

"One agency in the entire state has significant experience besides us. It`s DCI -- and yes, they hire retired Milwaukee police as well as other people because no one has more experience," Chief Flynn said.

Bell says the perception alone should have kept anyone with MPD ties away from the Hamilton case.

"It leaves a lot of question marks," Bell said.

A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office says they have nothing new to report at this time. The case is still under review.

Under the new law, if the officer isn't charged, the investigation should be released to the public.

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