US Justice Department says it will work with Milwaukee police on reform plan

The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday that it's prepared to announce a plan to significantly reform the Milwaukee Police Department.

The brief press release makes no mention of what led to the action. Several police agencies around the nation are involved in a similar process, known as collaborative reform, including Baltimore and St. Louis County, which have been involved in high-profile deaths that sparked widespread protesting.

In Milwaukee, a black man was killed by a white officer in a downtown park in 2014. Dontre Hamilton's death has prompted ongoing protests, including a demonstration at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony that resulted in a handful of arrests last month.

Hamilton was schizophrenic but not violent, according to his family. The officer involved, Christopher Manney, has since been fired for failing to follow department rules.

After the federal Justice Department said last month that it wouldn't pursue criminal civil rights charges against the former officer, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn responded saying he remained committed to reform and invited a partnership with and examination by the agency.

Justice Department spokesman Dean Puschnig said in an email that he didn't have additional information. There will be a formal news conference Thursday, and Puschnig said there will be a question and answer period at that time.

Hamilton's brother, Nate Hamilton, who has been a spokesman for the family, didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.


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