Milwaukee shooting: Federal investigation into white police officer who shot Dontre Hamilton dead

Police officer says he was acting in self defence when he shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times

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The Independent US

The US federal government will launch an investigation into the latest killing of a black man by a while police officer, it has said.

Federal authorities will examine the case of Dontre Hamilton, a black man who suffered from mental health issues.

United States attorney James Santelle said his office would work with the US Department of Justice and FBI to review whether there had been a violation of federal civil rights law during the incident.

Local prosecutors had said hours before the federal intervention that they would not charge Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney with any offence for killing Mr Hamilton.

"Based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney's use of force in this incident was justified self-defence and that defence cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime," Milwaukee County district attorney John Chisholm said.

Mr Manney is at least the third white American police officer in the last month to avoid prosecution after shooting dead a black man.

The shooting occurred after the police officer responded to a call to check on the welfare of a man sleeping in a park in the city.

According to the police officer’s version of events, Mr Hamilton resisted an attempt by officer to search him.

The two are said to have exchanged punches before the rough sleeper somehow obtained the officer’s baton and hit him on the neck. The police officer then shot the man 14 times.

 

Other killings have happened in Missouri and New York City, sparking protests in both those places.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has pleaded for a pause in protests in his city until after the funerals of two police officers, who were killed last week.

The attack in which the officers died is believed to have been a revenge killing for police shootings.

"We are in a very difficult moment. Our focus has to be on these families," Mr de Blasio said yesterday.

"I think it's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time."

Last month US president Barack Obama acknowledged that many Americans were “disappointed, even angry” at decisions not to prosecute in cases of police shootings.

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