Police Officer Claims He Wasn’t Given a Fair Trial

     MILWAUKEE (CN) – A police officer who shot an unarmed homeless man 14 times was not given a fair hearing after his termination, he claims in court.
     Former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney performed a pat-down search that led to a fatal altercation with Dontre Hamilton on April 30, 2014, in a public park.
     Police Chief Edward Flynn dismissed Manney in October 2014, stating he did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct a pat-down search and exceeded use of force guidelines. Flynn’s decision was unanimously upheld by the city’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners in March 2015.
     Manney filed a judicial challenge of the board’s decision on May 8, 2015, and the case was transferred from Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Van Grunsven at the request of the board, according to online court records. A petition was filed Monday with Judge Richard J. Sankovitz.
     Through his attorneys, Manney claims the police department withheld exculpatory evidence until two months before the appeal hearing – namely, professional opinions from the Los Angeles Police Department and MPD Lieutenant MacGillis.
     State law and board rules require that exculpatory evidence be given at the time of termination.
     The opinions also did not appear on the department’s witness and exhibit list provided in November 2014, the petition states.
     “Additional emails supporting the exculpatory nature of such evidence were not provided to Manney until the middle of the trial,” the petition continues.
     The board forbid Manney from calling Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. as a witness on his behalf, “even though the board’s own rules provide that ‘[a]ny witness may testify regarding matters about which the witness has personal knowledge and which are sufficiently related to the issues before the board,'” according to the petition.
     Manney says Clarke’s expertise as a former MPD officer of 25 years made him a relevant witness.
     Clarke has publicly opposed “Black Lives Matter” protests in response to police killings of unarmed black men, and tweeted that he believed Eric Garner’s choking death at the hands of the New York Police Department was an accident.
     The board also refused to allow as evidence an MPD training video “that was used to demonstrate the dangerous nature of what is perceived to be a non-dangerous encounter with a subject, and the potential threat to officers when they do not conduct pat-down searches of a subject that appears to be non-dangerous,” the petition states.
     The board examiner said Manney had never actually viewed the video in question, a factor that is irrelevant when admitting evidence, Manney says.
     “The purpose of entering that video into evidence was to demonstrate that the MPD was, in fact, training its police officers in a fashion that was directly at odds with the chief’s conclusion that Manney conducted an unlawful pat down,” the petition states.
     Finally, the board’s written decision was issued 26 days late, and upheld the termination despite Flynn’s testimony that Manney had “articulated individualized reasonable suspicion for conducting the pat down prior to the chief effectuating Manney’s discharge.”
     Manney says the board proceeded on an “incorrect theory of law” and exceeded its jurisdiction with its hearing process and decisions, and demands that the court reverse his permanent termination and the board’s finding that he violated MPD’s operating procedures, core values and guiding principles.