Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney files appeal to get his job back

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney has filed an appeal in an effort to get his job back.

The appeal was filed Tuesday, May 5th with the Milwaukee City Attorney's Office and the Fire and Police Commission.

Manney shot and killed 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on April 30th, 2014.

In final and unanimous decisions, a Fire and Police Commission panel ruled March 23rd Manney would not get his job back. The decisions came after a five-day appeal hearing. The panel ruled Manney violated MPD policy and procedure when he performed that pat down, and also that Manney's use of force on April 30th was a violation of policy. The panel then decided to uphold Manney's permanent termination from MPD.

Phase one of Manney's appeal hearing involved two questions: 1) Did Manney violate MPD's protocol and code of conduct in his pat down of Dontre Hamilton -- and 2) Did Manney's use of force violate MPD's protocol and code of conduct?

The Fire and Police Commission panel said "yes" to those questions -- with all three commissioners on the panel signing the ruling. In phase two, the commissioners ruled that Chief Flynn's firing of Manney was appropriate and justified.

In his firing of Manney, Chief Flynn said Manney's actions escalated the interaction with a mentally ill man to the point deadly force was necessary. In his closing statements during the appeal hearing before the FPC panel, Chief Flynn's attorney argued Manney should be held responsible.

“There`s a set of training and enforcements that you are taught and you don`t go hands on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill. Christopher Manney treated Hamilton as though he were a dangerous criminal instead of following his training,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said in announcing Manney’s firing from MPD.

During testimoy before the FPC panel, Chief Flynn explained in detail why he fired Manney.

“He violated our core value of competence and he did so in a way that unfortunately and tragically resulted in him having to use deadly force to protect himself. He did not indicate any objective reason, based on his observations, for wanting to pat down Mr. Hamilton except for the fact that he thought he was homeless. But there is nothing in that report to indicate that he thought that Mr. Hamilton was committing a crime; that Mr. Hamilton was in fact personally in possession of a weapon. He was not investigating a crime. There were no suspicions being attached to Mr. Hamilton’s behavior. But rather, in his initial response to charges, it was simply that he appeared to be a homeless man and they often carry knives," Flynn said.

Dontre Hamilton's family was elated by the FPC panel's decision to uphold Manney's firing.

"We know Christopher Manney didn`t do his job properly. We`ve been stating that to this Fire and Police Commission for a long time," Nate Hamilton said.

The case now goes back to the court system. A judge will decide whether Manney will get his job back.

The Fire and Police Commission has five days to notify the circuit court that an appeal has been filed. Once the court is notified, the appeal will be assigned to the court and a judge.

In December, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced Manney wouldn’t face criminal charges in this case.