By Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter
Four years ago, an officer responding to a complaint approached Dontre Hamilton, a black man who was unarmed and had paranoid schizophrenia.
He was resting in a Milwaukee park when minutes later Hamilton was shot by the responding officer 14 times, and subsequently died.
The revealing documentary ‘The Blood is at the Doorstep,’ produced by Erik Ljung, was screened and discussed to shed light on what it is that happened that day, on April 23 at EC in Illinois Hall.
The documentary chronicles the fatal police shooting and the struggles of the victims family as they seek answers.
This Andrew Prinz Guestship for Political Awareness consisted of both the documentary screening as well as a discussion with Ljung, and Hamilton’s two brothers, who are featured and outspoken in the documentary, Nate Hamilton and Dameion Perkins.
“This is something that’s been the pulse of America lately but this is not a new phenomenon, this has been going on for decades. I think it’s just harder for white people to deny it’s happening now; its being caught on cell phones and the press has been focused on this,” said Ljung, director/producer of this documentary.
Ljung continued by stating that there are an estimated one thousand people killed annually by police and that many of those people’s names go unrecognized or unmentioned.
The documentary depicted the events leading up to and following that day in 2014 that forever changed the Hamilton family’s lives.
In the minutes leading up to Hamilton’s death, the responding officer that took the call did not follow the proper protocol in regards to their being a mentally-unstable person.
When the officer ended up taking Hamilton’s life, he claimed it was because he saw the outline of a weapon in Hamilton’s pocket, when in reality it was a pack of Twizzlers.
According to the responding officer, Christopher Manney, “Dontre caused me to fear for my life.” And so he took action the best way he knew how: by shooting the schizophrenic man 14 times.
The Hamilton family has been very active and outspoken in trying to find out more information on why this situation was handled the way it was - with seemingly little thought behind it.
In the documentary, it showed how Hamilton’s mother and two brothers have worked tirelessly, staging anti-police brutality protests throughout the streets of Milwaukee, and trying to find justice for Hamilton.
According to Nate, “Dontre was a kind-spirited person who, everyone that encountered him, learned to love - which is something the media and police officers failed to see.”
Nate then explained how the media tried to portray his brother as a “bad guy,” by using a mugshot photo in the articles and news stories surrounding his death. Setting the records straight about Hamilton and who he was is something that the Hamilton family have made their mission.
EC Freshman Alex Hall expressed his opinions on the issue.
“As a young black man in today’s world, I think it’s important for things like this documentary to be shown to the public so that they have a better understanding of what it is that people of my race have to deal with and worry about on a daily basis,” said Hall. “This is not the first time something like this has happened, and I doubt that it will be the last.”