MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors approved money to build a memorial for Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park, where he was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014.
Supervisors approved the proposal 17-1 on Thursday, allowing the transfer of $3,000 to build the memorial bench in Hamilton's honor at Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee.
Supervisor John Weishan, who is a veteran, was the only supervisor to vote against the proposal. During Thursday's meeting, Weishan argued that Red Arrow Park is named in honor of military veterans, and that the park does not honor veterans sufficiently.
Proposal sponsor Supervisor Sequanna Taylor said in a statement that the memorial will "provide a space of healing for families who have lost loved ones to violence committed by those sworn to protect and serve and bring awareness to mental health issues in our community."
Hamilton was shot 14 times by Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney on April 30, 2014, killing Hamilton. Manney was later fired from the department, and the shooting and outrage over it led to legislation requiring Milwaukee officers to wear body cameras.
Hamilton struggled with mental health issues, a topic the proposal's backers hope the memorial will remind and educate visitors of.
The memorial bench's plaque will read:
“Dontre Hamilton was a man given to us to inspire, motivate, encourage, strengthen, love, and so much more. Every day he continues to manifest within our lives, to keep us united and strong not only as a community but as a family, to uplift us to continue our fight towards justice. 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 educated and informed on how to bring more consciousness in supporting those who deal with mental health.”
A spokesperson for the county tells TMJ4 News that it will be at least several weeks before construction for the memorial begins.
Efforts to fund a memorial for Hamilton go back to 2015, after the board created the Dontre Hamilton Memorial Planning Task Force.