By CARRIE ANTLFINGER
Associated Press Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — One of the 14 bullets fired by a Milwaukee police officer at a mentally ill man killed in a downtown park in April hit him in the back, according to official autopsy results released Monday by an attorney for the man’s family.
Jonathan Safran, the attorney for Dontre Hamilton’s family, said he wants the public to have “more accurate information” as a prosecutor weighs whether to file charges against Officer Christopher Manney.
Hamilton was on the ground when Manney responded to a call for a welfare check and began a pat-down. Manney, who is white, said he fatally shot Hamilton, who was black, after a fight and that he feared Hamilton would kill him.
The autopsy, conducted by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office, found that half of the 14 shots that hit Hamilton traveled downward, with one hitting his back. Safran said that seems to indicate the officer was standing above Hamilton. No gunpowder residue was found near Hamilton’s wounds, which Safran said showed the men were not close when Manney fired.
Milwaukee police referred comment to the medical examiner’s office, which declined comment. The district attorney also declined comment. The district attorney had been waiting for reports from outside experts to make a decision on charges.
Fred Anapol, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, looked at the autopsy documents Monday and said the possibilities for the downward trajectory include the officer being taller or the gun otherwise being pointed down. But he said it’s hard to make conclusions without all the police reports.
“You can’t really tell anything just based on the autopsy,” he said. “You can’t tell intent, you can’t tell the circumstances.”
The autopsy also found abrasions on Hamilton’s chin, scalp, neck and arm. Safran said he’s seen photos of Manney right after the altercation, in which Manney said they struggled, that don’t seem to show any wounds on the officer, Safran said.
“We just want to try to correct some of the misinformation out there, at least raise some concerns to be fair that the public and news media should be asking for more information from the department for them to justify how it can be described as this violent act by Dontre Hamilton against Christopher Manney,” Safran said.
The autopsy also revealed Hamilton had no drugs system.
Chief Edward Flynn fired Manney in October, saying he improperly treated Hamilton as a criminal. Flynn has said Hamilton resisted the pat-down and that the two exchanged punches and strikes before Hamilton hit Manney on the neck with Manney’s baton. Manney then shot Hamilton.
Hamilton’s family said he had schizophrenia and described Hamilton as fearful, but not dangerous or violent.