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DA Tricia Hanson responds to protesters

Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson addresses a group of about 100 peaceful protesters gathered outside the Racine County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.


RACINE — The family of Donte Shannon might have to wait another week before finding out if the Racine police officers involved in the death of Shannon could be charged.

It has been more than a week since the Racine County District Attorney’s Office received the investigation from the state Department of Justice about the Jan. 17 fatal shooting. On that date, Donte Shannon was shot and killed by police officers after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop and brandishing a handgun.

On Monday morning, Nakia Shannon, father of Donte, said he briefly spoke with District Attorney Tricia Hanson, who told him she plans to have a decision by March 13.

“She told me the report wasn’t done being read and she legally can’t talk to me now because I have an attorney and she will contact me when everything is done,” Nakia Shannon said. “They finally got the autopsy report to her desk (Monday morning).”

The Journal Times contacted the District Attorney’s Office to confirm the March 13 date but the request to answer the question was declined. Hanson has said she will talk with the family first about her decision before making it public.

In the past, the family has expressed interest in paying for their own autopsy, but Shannon said they have to wait until the results of the first autopsy have been released.

When the report is released, Shannon said he plans on reading through the report with an attorney, family and friends.

“I got a task force ready to sit down and start reading everything,” Shannon said. “We’re going to make copies of everything and start reading. We’re going to peel through it.”

Son’s death a ‘wake-up call’

On Feb. 5, a federal suit was filed on behalf of the Shannon family against the officers involved in the shooting and the City of Racine. The case alleges Donte Shannon’s civil rights were violated in the encounter that ended in the 26-year-old’s death.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association, which has stated it is representing the officers, has described the lawsuit as premature.

“Given that the independent investigation into this matter has not yet concluded, this lawsuit seems woefully premature and based more upon groundless and inflammatory accusations than actual evidence,” WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer said by email. “The officers have voluntarily cooperated with the ongoing external review and believe that the facts will speak for themselves.”

Nakia Shannon said his son’s death was a “wake-up call” and despite similar cases around the country resulting in police officers not being charged, he plans to keep fighting if the district attorney decides not to pursue charged.

“It tells me, good or bad, if Tricia Hanson doesn’t make the right decision to charge them, I’m not going to stop here,” Shannon said. “I’m going to the federal court, if the federal court decides not to charge him, I’m going to the Supreme Court. I have nothing but time to make sure I get the justice my son deserves.”



Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.