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Milwaukee panel upholds firing of cop who fatally shot mentally ill man

By Amy R. Connolly

MILWAUKEE, March 24 (UPI) -- A Milwaukee police review board unanimously upheld the firing of a police officer who gunned down a mentally ill man in a park last year.

Christopher Manney was fired following the fatal on-duty shooting of Dontre Hamilton on April 30. The panel agreed that Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn was right to fire Manney in October after he shot Hamilton 14 times. In December, prosecutors declined to press charges against Manney, saying the use of lethal force was justified.

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After the findings by the review board Monday, Nate Hamilton, Dontre's brother said Manney should not have his job back.

"Dontre has no voice no more, but today he spoke. Dontre spoke. He continues to speak through us, through the community, through change," Hamilton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The police officers, we're not saying that all of them are bad, but you have to remove those that are."

The incident unfolded when Manney, who is white, conducted a welfare check on Hamilton, who was black. Hamilton, 31, was sleeping in a park when Manney tried to frisk him and the two went to blows. Manney said Hamilton, who had schizophrenia and stopped taking his medication, grabbed his baton and hit him. Manney opened fire. The December ruling by the prosecutor's office sparked days of protests in Milwaukee.

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The review panel found Manney conducted an "out-of-policy pat-down." The Justice Department is reviewing the case to determine if there were any civil-rights violations.

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