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The County Board of Supervisors today adopted [17-1] a proposal by Supervisor Sequanna Taylor allocating $3,000 to fund a memorial bench and plaque in Red Arrow Park to honor the life of Mr. Dontre Hamilton and lift up the importance of mental health care.
“The Dontre Hamilton Memorial bench 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,” said Supervisor Taylor. “I thank my colleagues on the County Board for their support in this effort. But we must be clear that this memorial does not provide justice for the Hamilton family.”
Dontre Hamilton was killed by a Milwaukee police officer on April 30, 2014, when that officer confronted Dontre, who had been sleeping in Red Arrow Park, and provoked an altercation that led to the officer unjustifiably shooting and killing Dontre. Dontre’s death reverberated across Milwaukee and opened the eyes of many to a pattern of violence perpetrated by Milwaukee police officers against Black residents of this city, a lack of accountability for these crimes, and an ongoing failure to shift police practices to value Black lives.
The Dontre Hamilton Memorial Bench will also provide an opportunity to bring attention to mental health awareness. Hamilton was one of 1.5 million Americans and 20 million people worldwide diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
After Hamilton’s death, his brother Nate Hamilton cofounded the Coalition for Justice, an organization that aims to bring awareness to injustices happening in Milwaukee. Dontre’s mother Maria Hamilton also founded Mother’s for Justice United, which unites mothers who have lost children to state and vigilante violence.
The Hamilton family has expressed that they would like to use the memorial bench to focus on mental health and healing circles in collaboration and unity with the veteran community.
The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution creating the Dontre Hamilton Memorial Planning Task Force to develop a plan and design for a memorial within Red Arrow Park to honor Mr. Dontre Hamilton in 2015.