Hamilton family and community deserve answers soon
Statement from Common Council President Michael J. Murphy September 15, 2014
On Friday I met with and listened to a group of residents which included family members of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in Red Arrow Park earlier this year.
The group expressed their frustration, concern and anger over several issues. Primary among them was frustration over how Dontre Hamilton’s case is being legally handled, especially with the case dragging on for far too long. Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed on April 30th.
I share their frustration and I agree that the process is taking far too long.
Several factors are affecting the case decision. A new state law requires a team of at least two investigators from an outside agency (in this case outside the MPD) to review deaths in police custody. Additionally, the District Attorney has sought reviews by outside, independent experts on the use of force. Consequently, in an effort to assure an impartial decision on the case, outside investigations have had the unintended effect of further complicating the disclosure of information to the public.
Prior to the new process, the medical examiner’s report and the police officer’s name would have been made public more quickly. Now the public (and the Hamilton family) is waiting months for basic facts to be released.
While I respect the new process, I am extremely disappointed that so much time has passed without basic information being released, and for the investigation to not be concluded. Certainly, I understand the investigation must be thorough, but the public deserves to know what exactly happened on April 30th.
I believe the public is best served by a transparent investigation that is completed in a timely manner. The family needs resolution so healing can begin; the community deserves the facts so we can move forward and work to restore trust between public institutions and the general community.
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