Milwaukee – First I would like to say, my continued thoughts, prayers, and support are with the Hamilton Family during this difficult time. I know it is difficult as we watch our friends, family, and community suffer without recompense; but, the way forward is not through violence but through active engagement in the political process. I am disappointed in DA, John Chisolm’s choice not to charge Christopher Manney. Honestly, after waiting eight months, like most Milwaukeeans I am not surprise by his decision. I commend the Hamilton family’s nonviolent resolve; I understand the frustration that flows from intolerable conditions that exist in our society.
The outpouring of community outrage is about more than Dontre Hamilton or any one individual, incident, or injustice. It is larger than a single police officer or department. It is about the systemic inequity within the institutions that are supposed to uphold justice “I urge the protestors to ‘keep their eyes on the prize’ and remain peaceful and strategic; this is the only way to sustain long term and systemic change. Let’s be clear, anything short of mandatory cultural competency and mental health training for all those who serve the people of Milwaukee, and the dollars to match is not real. This must be coupled with a plan to fill the two vacant appointments on the Fire & Police Commission, and direct engagement in a transparent selection process for the new executive director. All other efforts are only disingenuous efforts to pacify rather than address the real problemThere are well documented disparities in policing, charging, and sentencing and judicial and prosecutorial discretion play a key role in the perpetuation of these disparities. The DAs decision not to charge Christopher Manning is but one of many examples of how this discretion leads to ever widening inequities within the justice system. I will continue to advocate for the necessary changes to ensure that unnecessary loss of life ends with Dontre.