Earlier this month, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn was verbally attacked by protesters in his community for being on his cellphone during a Fire and Police Commission meeting related to the officer-involved shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, 31. When reporters confronted Flynn about the cellphone incident after the meeting, he not only revealed that he had a good reason to be on it, but he also went on a tirade about the “greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee.”
“Well I was on my phone, yes. That is true. I was following developments about a 5-year-old girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting,” Flynn said angrily. “If some of the people gave a good goddamn about the victimization of people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously.”
“The greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting shot and killed — hello!” he added.
Flynn noted that each year in Milwaukee, 80 percent of homicide victims, 85 percent of aggravated assault victims, 80 percent of shooting victims who survive shootings are African-American.
“Now, they know all about the last three people who have been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department in the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city,” Flynn said. “But this community is at risk alright, and it’s not because men and women in blue risk their lives protecting it. It’s at risk because we have large numbers of high-capacity, quality firearms in the hands of remorseless criminals who don’t care who they shoot.”
Flynn then told reporters that he was going directly from the meeting to the crime scene where there was a dead 5-year-old child and that he takes these types of crimes “personally.”
“We are responsible for the things that we get wrong,” he said of his police department. “We’ve arrested cops, we’ve fired cops and so on. But the fact is, the people here, some of them, who had the most to say, are absolutely MIA when it comes to the true threats facing this community. It gets a little tiresome, and when you start getting yelled at for reading the updates on the kid who got shot, yeah you take it personally, OK?”
Watch the now-viral video via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Flynn announced in October that he fired the officer who shot and killed Hamilton. WISN-TV has more details on what led to the fatal shooting:
Flynn said Manney approached Hamilton, identified himself and asked Hamilton to stand up. When Hamilton stood up, Manney approached Hamilton from behind, reached under Hamilton’s arms, placed his hands on his chest to conduct a pat-down search and asked if Hamilton had any weapons.
As Manney began the search, Hamilton began fighting with Manney.
Flynn said Manney tried to use his baton to subdue Hamilton, but Hamilton was able to take the baton from Manney. Hamilton swung the baton at Manney multiple times and struck Manney on the side of the neck with the baton.
Fearing that Hamilton would seriously injure or kill him, Manney used his service weapon and shot Hamilton.
In this Oct. 11, 2014 family, friends and community members of Dontre Hamilton rally in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee where Officer Christopher Manney shot and killed Hamilton on April 30. Family and friends say they will continue to hold rallies and protests in an effort to convince Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to bring criminal charges against Manney in Hamilton’s death. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)
Flynn said the officer was fired because he treated the “emotionally disturbed” suspect as a “dangerous criminal instead of following his training and treating Mr. Hamilton as an EDP." Family members claimed Hamilton suffered from schizophrenia but was not a violent person.
But family members and others in the community maintain the firing isn’t enough and want to see criminal charges against the officer.
Supporters of Dontre Hamilton plan to hold a rally to "stand in solidarity with Ferguson" following the grand jury decision in the fatal Michael Brown shooting, WITI-TV reported.
In the tragic shooting that Flynn referred to in the video, two men approached a Milwaukee home and opened fire and fatally shot a 5-year-old girl who was sitting on her grandfather's lap.