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Mothers of Dontre Hamilton, Sandra Bland rally for Donte Shannon

Mothers of Dontre Hamilton, Sandra Bland rally for Donte Shannon

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RACINE — The rainy weather Monday afternoon could not stop a group of about 50 protesters from marching from City Hall to the Racine County Courthouse and back to City Hall.

The group was chanting, “Running is not a death sentence,” in reference to the death of Donte Shannon, who was killed by Racine police officers after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop and brandishing a handgun at officers on Jan. 17.

Nakia Shannon, Donte’s father, said the family is still waiting to hear from officials about the investigation into the incident.

“It’s been 32 days and we still haven’t gotten any input,” Shannon said. “No kind of answer or reassurance or comfort that me and my family need for closure.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the case is expected be transitioned over to the Racine County District Attorney’s Office later this week. As of Monday, the reports and evidence had not yet been turned over.

The Shannon family has since filed a civil suit against the City of Racine and the two officers involved in the shooting.

“I’m not worried about the civil suit,” Shannon said. “I’m more worried about justice, equality for my people … money cannot bring back a life.”

Mothers relate to family

The rally at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., featured two speakers who have firsthand experience of what the Shannon family is going through.

Geneva Reed-Veal came up from Chicago to offer advice to the family. Reed-Veal’s daughter, Sandra Bland, died in 2015 from suicide while in the Waller County Jail in Texas after allegedly being pulled over for a traffic violation.

Reed-Veal encouraged Shannon to keep his son’s memory alive but to also know that the community is watching how he handles this situation and that he’ll be an example of how to act if a similar event occurs in the future.

Maria Hamilton came down from Milwaukee to show her support for the family. Hamilton’s son, Dontre, was killed by a Milwaukee police officer in an incident in 2014 that resulted in the officer being fired.

“This isn’t a moment, this is a movement,” Hamilton said to the crowd assembled inside City Hall. “Right now, everyone that’s a willing soul should be here. Nobody is exempt from this particular type of brutality.”

Hamilton said her voice, along with the Shannon family and others like them, have become the voice “of the stolen lives from police brutality.”

“No one should be in this group of women and families that we are in,” Hamilton said. “It has to stop.”

Although he appreciates the support, Nakia Shannon said he wishes he was not part of a group of people who have had family members killed by law enforcement.

“But now that I am, I got a bigger family,” Shannon said. “We’re still sad. We’re still depressed. We’re still wondering (what happened).”

Most of those who participated were black; but at this rally, and others before it, there have been several white people present to offer their support.

Hamilton encouraged the group to embrace their white supporters in their cause.

“Whatever they can contribute to our fight, it’s needed,” Hamilton said. “Because we don’t have enough of our brothers and sisters out here. We have more men and women in prison than we do in this fight.”

Hamilton encouraged the group to participate in the election process to put like-minded officials in office and to teach each other with love and respect.

“We have to come together,” Hamilton said. “We have to stop hating and killing our own people”

“No one should be in this group of women and families that we are in. It has to stop.” Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton at a rally for Donte Shannon

“No one should be in this group of women and families that we are in. It has to stop.”

Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton at a rally for Donte Shannon

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Reporter

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

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