For November’s topic on In the Wings we are sharing stories confronting and combating the stigmas surrounding mental health.
This week, I spoke with Erik Ljung, the director of The Blood is at the Doorstep. We will be screening his documentary here at 88Nine Tuesday November 21.
The documentary takes place immediately after the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton in 2014. The film chronicles the Hamilton’s family reaction to his death.
The documentary also explores the various accounts of what took place at Red Arrow Park and how Hamilton’s mental illness played a role in the changes that would come in Milwaukee.
Hamilton’s death sparked a new social justice movement in Milwaukee with his family becoming major leaders in the community. It was revealed that Hamilton had paranoid schizophrenia.
This inspired his family to also advocate for change in the mental health community and police department. The Milwaukee Police Department will have all officers trained in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) by the end of this year, according to MPD Public Information Officer Sergeant Timothy Gauerke.
“The department also has several officers that have received additional mental health training and are paired with a mental health clinician,” said Sergeant Gauerke. “These officers are part of the Crisis Assessment Response Team (CART).”
Ljung has traveled all over the country to promote his documentary and screen it at several film festivals. The Blood is at the Doorstep was also the centerpiece film at the Milwaukee Film Festival.
His connection to the Hamilton family goes beyond following the Hamilton’s around with a camera for a few years.