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Justice Dept. will open civil rights investigation into Dontre Hamilton fatal shooting case

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The U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the death of a black man who was fatally shot by a white former Milwaukee police officer after local prosecutors refused to charge him, saying he acted in self-defense.

Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm said on Monday he will not press charges against the former officer Christopher Manney because he acted in self-defense when he shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times during a struggle in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on April 30.

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A few hours after that, the Justice Department through its offices in Milwaukee said it will conduct a review of case to determine if federal civil rights laws were broken.

Protests have been held in Milwaukee since the incident occurred. On Friday, 74 people were taken into custody after an evening demonstration spilled onto a highway and stopped rush hour traffic.

Demonstrations against the use of excessive force by police have been held around the United States in the wake of recent cases in which unarmed black men were killed by white policemen.

“This is a fight that we are going to endure. We are going to stay strong,” Dontre’s brother Nate Hamilton said during a press conference on Monday when the family’s attorney called for a federal investigation. The press conference preceded the Justice Department announcement on Monday afternoon.

Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm said at a news conference his decision “does not depreciate the very legitimate concerns raised any time a law enforcement officer uses deadly force against a citizen.”

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Mayor Tom Barrett called for calm protests and said that police officers throughout the U.S. should not be demonized.

“This is a time for peace,” he said during a separate news conference.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn announced the firing of Manney on Oct. 15. He said Manney had acted without malice but that he had failed to follow police policies when addressing mentally ill people.

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“It’s very, very hard to charge a police officer with homicide if he does exactly what he is trained to do,” Chisholm said.

Manney told investigators that he and Hamilton got into a fight after he attempted to apprehend him, according to the statement Manney gave police.

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Hamilton took Manney’s baton and hit him, Manney’s statement said. Manney then shot Hamilton, according to police.

“He feared Hamilton would attack him with the baton and that he ‘would be dead’ as a result,” the statement said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Bill Trott, Toni Reinhold and Christian Plumb)

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Mississippi Republican who lost to Democrat by 14 votes files request for state House to void the election and declare her the winner

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On Thursday, Mississippi Today reported that state Rep. Ashley Henley, who lost her bid for re-election to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray by just 14 votes in November, has filed a request for the GOP-controlled state legislature to overturn the results of the election and seat Henley for another term.

Henley cites what she claims are several irregularities in voter signature collection, and "missing" ballots. "There were irregularities that happened, absolutely, documented, very much so that bring into question the legitimacy of the election results," said Henley said. "That is without question."

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Trump’s campaign manager mocked for proudly sharing poll that suggests Dems will keep the House in 2020

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale posted a poll that was meant to warn Democrats off of their impeachment efforts, by showing how it was hurting their prospects in a competitive House race.

Specifically, the "confidential" poll showed freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (R-OK) down seven points against a generic Republican, and impeachment opposed 52 percent to 45 percent:

Nancy Pelosi is marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss.

Impeachment is killing her freshman members and polling proves it.

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Two House Democrats push a clever plan that calls Republicans’ bluff on their Biden attacks

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Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Max Rose of New York introduced a clever plan this week that will expose whether Republicans’ criticisms of former Vice President Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal reflect good faith — or if, as many assume, they are just a shameful distraction and a bluff.

The lawmakers announced a bill on Wednesday called the Transparency in Executive Branch Officials’ Finances Act. It has two key components:

First, it would require all politically appointed executive branch officials, as well as the president and the vice president, to “disclose any positions they or any members of their extended families hold with foreign-owned businesses, any intellectual property they own that is protected or enforced by a foreign country, and whether any members of their families have stakes in companies that engage in significant foreign business dealings.”Second, it will “require the President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns for the previous five taxable years and prohibit political appointees from accepting payments from foreign entities.”

What’s clever about the proposal is that it latches on to two important issues, creating a wedge for Republicans. As part of the GOP’s defense of President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans have argued that the president’s patently corrupt efforts to get a foreign country to investigate Biden, a political rival, were legitimate because the former vice president’s son created a conflict of interest by taking part in business in Ukraine.

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