Dontre Hamilton's family says officer's firing is a step in the right direction, but they want more

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn announced on Wednesday, October 15th he has terminated the Milwaukee police officer who shot and killed 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park on April 30th. Family members and friends of Dontre Hamilton watched Chief Flynn's news conference through a live web stream at the Milwaukee Police Administration Building, and FOX6 News was there with them as the police officer's name was made public.

The Hamilton family says Wednesday's announcement that Officer Christopher Manney has been fired is bittersweet. They say they're happy the officer has been fired, but they say they want more to be done.

The Hamilton family is calling Wednesday's decision a step in the right direction, but they say they will not rest until criminal charges are brought against Manney.

"I signed an order terminating Christopher Manney from his employment with the Milwaukee Police Department," Chief Flynn said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Thank God. It's overwhelming at this point," Dontre Hamilton's mother, Maria Hamilton said.

Dontre Hamilton's family members listened as Chief Flynn announced the man who killed Hamilton has been fired. Not welcomed into the room, they were forced to watch the news conference from a phone.

"We're fighting for justice for Dontre and we're going to continue to fight," Maria Hamiltons aid.

For months, Dontre Hamilton's family and supporters have marched, demanding justice for Dontre. Finally on Wednesday -- a decision they're calling a step in the right direction.

"It's showing that Dontre shouldn't have been approached. He wasn't doing anything wrong. He didn't deserve to die," Hamilton's brother, Nathaniel Hamilton said.

The Hamilton family is calling Wednesday's decision one step toward their ultimate goal.

"Our grief is not eased at all because it's not done. We want justice for my brother. We want what's right to be done. We're still that desperate family looking for answers. We're still hurting," Nathaniel Hamilton said.

"It's a plus that he's fired, but he took a man's life and any other citizen would go to jail," Maria Hamilton said.

In addition to criminal charges, the Hamilton family wants evidence from that April day to be made public -- particularly, photos of the injuries Officer Manney sustained that day.

They say they will continue to march for justice. In fact, another demonstration is planned for Thursday, October 16th. The Hamilton family says they will now direct their demonstrations toward the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

City leaders were also quick to respond to the announcement that Officer Manney has been fired.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he supports Chief Flynn's decision.

"What I said to the Chief when I spoke to him is 'your obligation is to do what you think is right and do it in accordance to the law,' and I believe that's what Chief Flynn did," Mayor Barrett said.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan issued the following statement on this latest development:

“It’s been brought to my attention that the officer involved in the Red Arrow Park shooting has been or will soon be fired by the Milwaukee Police Department. If that is indeed the case, I am saddened and sickened by the way it seems some people are apparently playing politics. I find it hard to believe that, without looking over the report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice and without yet knowing the district attorney’s decision, Chief Flynn feels he has sufficient grounds at this point to fire this officer. Decisions like this need to be based on facts and should not be influenced by anything other than a thorough investigation. Although I too am frustrated with how long the process is taking, firing this officer now is unjust and unfair. Cooler heads need to prevail, and before decisions like this are made, we need to know what the investigation revealed. Even if the officer was guilty of these alleged rule violations, under normal circumstances they would never, be considered grounds for firing. To me, this entire matter reeks of politics.”

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