Milwaukee Alderman: Sheriff's Office should investigate when MPD uses deadly force

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Four months after 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer inside Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee, there's still no decision on whether the shooting was justified. A Milwaukee alderman suggests we'd have answers sooner if the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office led the investigation. On Wednesday, September 10th, Sheriff David Clarke responded to that suggestion.

Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis has called on Milwaukee County officials to "fund a Criminal Investigation Bureau within the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office."

Davis believes the Sheriff's Office and not the state's Department of Justice should investigate when Milwaukee police use deadly force.

"If the agency is right next door to you that can do it, why would you want to - that`s a determination they get to make - but I agree with Joe Davis that we maybe need to look at this for a more seamless way of getting this thing done," Sheriff Clarke said.

It's an unlikely alliance.

City officials have clashed with Sheriff Clarke in the past over gun control. The end of Davis' statement issued Wednesday says: "We may not like the current Sheriff's hat, or the horse he rides, but let's do what is best for the public we serve."

"Any time I agree with Alderman Joe Davis on something, that is a 'Man Bites Dog' story. We don`t agree on a lot of things but I agree with him in this situation because it makes sense," Sheriff Clarke said.

When police use deadly force, a new state law requires that they get an outside agency to investigate.

Sheriff Clarke says the only issue on his end would be resources. In order to sustain such a partnership, Sheriff Clarke says he would need to hire more investigators.

"We could do it short-term, but any time you add responsibilities to a unit, you`re spreading them thinner and that`s why additional personnel," Sheriff Clarke said.

Of course, that would come with a cost -- raising the question of how the county would pay for it.

A spokesman for County Executive Chris Abele's office says any new programs in next year's budget will be announced later this month.

Alderman Davis' statement issued to FOX6 News reads as follows:

"Now that the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office has decided to delay the decision regarding the in-custody death of Dontre Hamilton, I have no other recourse but to urge that County Executive Chris Abele and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors fund a Criminal Investigation Bureau within the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. A recent State of Wisconsin Bill passed by the Legislature (and signed into law by Governor Walker) mandates that when there is an in-custody death by a law enforcement agency, that an independent law enforcement agency shall conduct the investigation of the impacted jurisdiction. The City of Milwaukee’s Police Department decided to use the State of Wisconsin's Department of Justice instead of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department (which has a state-of-the-art training facility in Franklin) because of the perceived lack of experience that could be attributed to personalities, instead of the public good.

The City of Madison has an agreement with the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, with the support of the Dane County District Attorney, to address the situation of timely response to the crime scene, efficiency of the investigation, and maintaining the integrity of the crime scene, etc. It has been almost a half year since the Dontre Hamilton in-custody death occurred and I’m not going to sit by and let politics as usual occur. We may not like the current Sheriff’s hat, or the horse he rides, but let’s do what is best for the public we serve."

The Milwaukee Police Department has issued this statement:

“Immediately after the state law was passed we entered into constructive conversations with the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.  We have come to a mutual agreement with DCI that, as the second largest criminal investigations unit in Wisconsin next to the Milwaukee Police Department, they will handle the lead investigator duties in the circumstances detailed in the state statute.”

The Milwaukee County District Attorney on Tuesday evening, met with the family of Dontre Hamilton. That's when the family learned the District Attorney's Office has asked that another outside agency review the case.

The state DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation has already completed its investigation -- and has handed it over to the District Attorney's Office.

The District Attorney's Office will make the decision as to whether to charge the officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton.

CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the Dontre Hamilton case via