My Son Dontre's Killing by Police Was a Human Rights Violation

Few things define me as completely as being a mother. I gave birth to three sons: Nate, Dameion and Dontre. My world changed forever on April 30, 2014, when my son Dontre was killed by Milwaukee police.

Today I testified at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to say that Dontre’s death as a Black man in America at the hands of law enforcement should be seen as more than a son’s death, more than a mother’s tragedy. Dontre’s death at the hands of police was a human rights violation.

My story is his story.

It was a Wednesday. It was late and I was on my way home to prepare for work the following morning. My phone rang and an unidentified detective said he want to come talk with me. I said, “What do you want to talk about at 12:15am?” I told him I would come down after I got off work the next day. He said no, he would come to see me. I felt a mother’s fear. I hung up and tried to reach all three of my sons.

Nate and Dontre didn’t answer. I call Dameion and told him the police were on the way over. Thirty minutes later the police were in the front of my home. Right away it was clear he was not there to help. I thought he was going to arrest me.

Three Milwaukee detectives put me in the back of an unmarked police car and questioned me about my relationship with my sons. When had I last seen them? When had I talked to them? I kept asking for an attorney even though the officers never read me my rights.

After 35 minutes of being detained and questioned these officers matter-of-factly told me my baby boy, my Dontre, was dead.

In that moment I couldn’t process what was happening: my son was dead and the police were treating me like a criminal suspect instead of a mother whose son has just been killed.

I wasn’t able to see Dontre after he was killed for nine days. When I did see him there were 21 bullet holes in his body. If it wasn’t for a childhood friend, who worked at the funeral home and prepared Dontre’s body for burial, we would have never known that he was shot 14 times with seven exit wounds. Not the nine times it said in the police report. He was shot in the back. His thumb was shot off. He had been beaten with a police stick, and his body was terribly bruised.

This happened in a park downtown across the street from Milwaukee City Hall. Dontre had every right to be there. He had every right to remain alive.

The officers said that because there would be a full investigation I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, and that they couldn’t take me to see my child. I fell out of the car in to the middle of the street kicking and screaming. I do not have the words to adequately convey how overtaken I was with shock. With disbelief. With horror. With grief.

Five hours after they left me, Milwaukee Chief of Police Ed Flynn went on television and demonized my son. He said Dontre was a criminal with a long history of mental illness. That he was homeless. All lies. Dontre had a job, an apartment, and was nicely dressed the day he was killed by Officer Christopher Manney.

Yes he had a mental illness – schizophrenia — but he wasn’t hurting anybody. He was resting in a park in the United States of America, on a sunny spring day.

It broke my heart to hear how they spoke of my son as my grief was driven deeper and deeper into me and my family. I will remember Dontre all the days of my life. I will honor his life and his memory. I did that today with my testimony and I will never stop.

Dontre’s killing by police, like that of so many men and boys of color, is a violation of his human rights. While the officer who killed him lost his job, no one was held accountable for his death with criminal charges. Things must change in this country so everyone gets equal justice. I ask you to mourn my son by fighting for change.

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Dr. Joseph Goebbels

It breaks my heart to see so many boys of color treated this way. White is a color isn’t it.

Mila Coonass

Another comment from the fake Dr. Goebbels.

Coco Canal

More fake comments. Will the real coco please stand up, please stand up

Stu

Scientifically speaking, white is not a color. It is a conglomeration of all the colors.

Anonymous

White is more like Alabaster you know

Anonymous

Please know that there are white folks, like me, that are completely outraged, horrified and deeply saddened by the murder of your son and many other Black men and women. I watch in horror as time after time police and police departments are not held accountable for cold blooded murder. Today's news of officer Slager being sentenced to 20 years for the murder of Walter Scott is a step in the right direction but we are still SO far away. We will get there. One day, we will!
#campaignzero

Anonymous

The shooting of Walter Scott by the cop was so obviously not necessary (and I usually side with cops) that I was almost certain that there would be some history between the two that led to the shooting. Why don't the advocates use that shooting for their cause instead of the more questionable ones?

Anonymous

kill the murderer s of your son ...

Anonymous

Is the POS who murdered him still alive?

Anonymous

Is the POS who murdered him still alive?

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