POLITICS
12/18/2014 04:32 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2014

Scott Walker Ready To Call In National Guard To Respond To Dontre Hamilton Protests

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he is fully ready to bring in the National Guard to deal with protesters if there is unrest after prosecutors decide whether to charge a white Milwaukee police officer in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, a 31-year-old unarmed African-American man.

"We proactively worked to make sure the National Guard was reaching out," Walker told reporters Wednesday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They've been having meetings with law enforcement here within the region just to make sure."

"The last thing I want is for them to get a call and then have to scurry about what they need to do," he added. "We said whenever it is, whenever it might be forthcoming, the last few weeks, we made sure they reached out to both [Milwaukee Police Chief Edward] Flynn and the sheriff and others to make sure they knew who the point person was."

On April 30, Christopher Manney, 38, shot Hamilton 14 times. The confrontation started when workers at a Milwaukee Starbucks complained to police that Hamilton was sleeping in a nearby park.

Manney -- unaware that two other officers had already checked on Hamilton and concluded he was not doing anything wrong -- responded to the call. Hamilton resisted when Manney tried to pat him down, leading to a physical altercation. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, "Manney tried to use his baton to subdue Hamilton, but Hamilton got control of it and swung it at Manney, hitting him on the side of the neck, according to the [autopsy] summary."

The autopsy also showed that one of the bullets hit Hamilton in the back.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is reviewing the case to determine whether charges should be filed against Manney, who has been fired from his job.

On Dec. 1, Hamilton's family and attorneys expressed frustration that it was taking Chisholm so long to come to a decision.

The preparations in Wisconsin come after massive protests broke out nationwide when grand juries declined to bring charges against white police officers in the deaths of two other unarmed African-American men: Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) called in the National Guard to help deal with the protests in Ferguson in August and then again in November.

Although Walker will be the one to decide whether to call in the National Guard, he said Wednesday that local law enforcement will handle the response to any protests. Local authorities in Missouri faced significant criticism in the aftermath of the Brown shooting in Ferguson, when they deployed a heavily armed response -- including tear gas and rubber bullets -- in response to the protesters, most of whom were peaceful.

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