Hamilton Family Attorney Hopes Jesse Jackson’s Milwaukee Visit Will Help Their Cause

Reverend Spoke With U.S. Attorney On Promised Federal Review Of Hamilton Case


An attorney for Dontre Hamilton’s family in Milwaukee said he hopes Jesse Jackson’s visit to the city on Friday will help encourage the U.S. Justice Department to go ahead with a promised review of the shooting of Hamilton.

Hamilton was a black man with a history of mental illness who was shot by a white police officer last April during an altercation in a downtown park. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm recently said he would not file charges against the now-fired officer, who he said had acted in self-defense.

Reverend Jesse Jackson told a rally on Friday afternoon that he met with Milwaukee-based U.S. Attorney James Santelle to urge the Justice Department to look at whether Hamilton’s civil rights were violated, and to look into the racial patterns and practices of the Milwaukee Police Department. One of the Hamilton family’s attorneys, Jonathan Safran, said he hopes the civil rights leader’s visit pays off, and that the DOJ does continue its investigation.

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“It may. It may not. Obviously, I appreciate whenever there’s an additional stage, so to speak, that’s provided for the family and citizens to express their concerns,” said Safran.

During the rally, Jackson also addressed some concerns about him coming from outside Wisconsin to be an advocate, saying it was no different that how Wisconsin sports teams operate.

“If Green Bay only have players from Green Bay and the Bucks only have players from Milwaukee, then I should stay in Chicago,” said Jackson. “If they can bring in ballplayers, they can bring in preachers to fight for justice.”

Jackson delivered the same message to about 300 people at a Milwaukee church on Friday night.

U.S. Attorney Santelle has not said much recently about a preliminary probe of the Milwaukee Police Department that reportedly started a few years ago.