MILWAUKEE — The U.S. Department of Justice has halted a review of Milwaukee’s police department that the police chief requested after a white officer fatally shot a mentally ill black man in a downtown park.
The Justice Department said it is changing a program that once focused on improving trust between police and communities. The DOJ initiative will instead focus on helping local law enforcement fight crime.
Cities such as Milwaukee that were under review will be moved into the new version of the program, a department spokeswoman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Saturday. As a result, those agencies will not get federal help to boost accountability or to implement reforms.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had requested the collaborative reform review in November 2015 after federal prosecutors declined to charge a now-fired officer who fatally shot Dontre Hamilton during a confrontation in Red Arrow Park.
Milwaukee officials discussed a draft of the federal review at a meeting Thursday. Alderwoman Milele Coggs stressed that city officials focus on the draft’s recommendations, “since for reasons that are beyond all of our control in this room, that final report will not be there.”
Flynn confirmed there is no final version of the report when he appeared at the meeting.
A task force of community leaders will take up the recommendations in the draft report, Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com