Bench dedicated in Dontre Hamilton's honor at Red Arrow Park
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dozens of family and friends, elected officials and community activists gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee Saturday, April 30 to dedicate a bench in honor of Dontre Hamilton. He was shot by former Milwaukee Police Department officer Christopher Manney in 2014 during a welfare check while sleeping there.
Manney was not charged by District Attorney John Chisholm, who said the shooting was in self defense.
Hamilton's family is hoping this bench can help families of people who lost their lives to mental health issues heal.
All of these people came out today for the moment the bench, with a plaque in Dontre's memory, was unveiled.
His brother, Nate Hamilton, read aloud from the plaque.
"We also have used Dontre's name to shed light on the difficulties we face around mental health issues. We can challenge Milwaukee to be better," said Nate.
Dontre was one of millions of Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia. He had been off his medication when he was shot.
Last year, Milwaukee County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor worked to secure funding to put the bench in place.
"I want everybody to understand that this bench does not bring back her son, this bench does not justify their brother being gone, this bench is something that the family wanted not for themselves, but for the community that's still hurting," said Taylor.
Other elected officials were there at the dedication as well.
County park officials said the bench, dedicated to mental health awareness, will also honor others who struggle with mental health. They also wanted people to know resources are available.
WWI veterans, like the ones the park is dedicated to, often suffered from PTSD.
Dontre's mother, Maria Hamilton, said she and the people there today plan to continue to fight to make Milwaukee safer, and for justice for people killed in police shootings.
"We have dozens of people out here doing the work that's necessary for us to make this city a better place," said Maria.