Milwaukee Cop Acquitted In Fatal Shooting Of Sylville Smith

Alejandro Massey
June 22, 2017

The prosecutor argued that Heaggan-Brown fatally shot Smith as the suspect attempted to surrender.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, in a statement via Twitter, said, "A year ago I told the public I'd seen nothing in the video that was a violation of the law or policy".

During closing arguments prosecutors noted the first shot he fired at Sylville Smith was justified, but the second one, which proved deadly when it hit the man in the chest, was not.

The shots, 1.7 seconds apart, ended the brief foot chase that lasted 12 seconds. But the shooting outraged many black residents in the highly-segregated Milwaukee, many of whom who have long complained about police brutality, and touched off 48 hours of uprising in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked in October when he was charged with two counts of assault in a separate investigation. The crimes are not connected to Smith's death, but they are the reason he was sacked from the Milwaukee police force.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked two months later after he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault.

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Attorney David Owens announced the lawsuit minutes after a jury acquitted Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith. Not only did they acquit him on the first-degree reckless homicide charge, but they also declined to choose lesser options that included second-degree reckless homicide and homicide by negligent operation of a unsafe weapon.

Smith's grieving family accused Heaggan-Brown of having a "personal vendetta" against Smith, claiming that the two knew each other from high school.

Reason reported on the shooting when Heaggan-Brown was charged in December.

Body-camera video showed Smith was unarmed and on the ground with his hands near his head when he was shot a second time in the chest, according to the criminal complaint. Smith, who was armed with a handgun, ran from the officers until he reached a fence. Heaggan-Brown chose not to testify. "Black or white, because we all bleed the same, we all hurt the same, and it don't feel good to lose anybody", said Sherelle Smith. According to Fox6, jurors also had the option to pick from two lesser charges instead of first-degree reckless homicide.

Jury deliberations are entering a second day in the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in a fatal shooting that led to riots in the majority African-American neighborhood where it happened.

"Obviously, everyone recognizes there was a loss of life, and I don't think any officer would want to be put in that situation and to have to make those decisions that he did, but those decisions were made, and I think the jury properly evaluated them", Smith said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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