Jesse Jackson leads Chicago rally to protest decision in Dontre Hamilton shooting

Sara Burnett, AP writer

During a Dec. 27 rally in Chicago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson told relatives and supporters of Dontre Hamilton that he’ll continue to draw attention to the case and what he and other critics say is a pattern of injustice.

Hamilton, 31, was shot 14 times by ex-cop Christopher Manney in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Square last April. After reviewing the case, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm declined to press charges against Manney, calling the homicide “justifiable.”

But U.S. Attorney James Santelle has announced that federal investigators will review the shooting to determine if Manney violated federal civil rights laws.

“We cannot stand by and let this happen without saying something,” Jackson told a crowd of about 200 people during a rally at his Rainbow PUSH Coalition Headquarters.

Hamilton’s family says he suffered from schizophrenia. His parents, two brothers and other relatives, along with several dozen supporters, joined Jackson at the Dec. 27 Chicago rally in hopes of bringing more widespread attention to the case.

“Dontre was a loving and concerned individual who didn’t deserve to die,” his brother, Nate Hamilton, said.

Hamilton and his supporters have held several rallies and demonstrations in the Milwaukee area since Chisholm’s decision not to prosecute Manney was announced.

Jackson pledged to “escalate this battle” by seeking federal intervention. He stressed that protests should be peaceful and that he doesn’t support violence.

He also called the shooting deaths of two police officers a week ago in New York a tragedy.

“We want to stop all killing,” Jackson said.

He added that he plans to travel to Milwaukee to hold a march and protest and to continue pressing police and lawmakers for change. Jackson didn’t say when those events would take place, but said it would be “soon.”

A Milwaukee police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.