Swift acquittal for former Milwaukee cop charged in shooting

Swift acquittal for former Milwaukee cop charged in shooting

A jury has found former Milwaukee Police Department officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty in the shooting death of Sylville Smith last August.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Sylville Smith, 23, following a foot chase that was captured on a police body camera.

The encounter began when Heaggan-Brown and two other cops said they saw Sylville Smith's rental auto parked a foot away from a curb and suspected a drug deal was taking place.

After the shooting in August, angry demonstrators took to the streets of Milwaukee, setting fires to businesses and throwing rocks at the police. The crimes are not connected to Smith's death, but they are the reason he was sacked from the Milwaukee police force. "Do something different in the community, try as hard as you can to be peaceful".

The Milwaukee acquittal also came as jurors in OH concluded their third day of deliberations in the murder retrial of a white University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black motorist.

Prosecutors said that Heaggan-Brown's first shot was reasonable, his second was not, as he no longer had any reason to fear for his life. The verdict follows last week's acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the death of Philando Castile, an incident that drew similar national attention after Castile's girlfriend streamed the shooting's aftermath on Facebook Live.

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Malafa's body camera footage was played several times in court, according to WTMJ. Defense attorneys argued that Heaggan-Brown had to make a split-second decision.

Heaggan-Brown, who was chasing Smith on foot along with another officer, shot him once in the arm as Smith rose from the ground, grabbed the gun and turned partly toward the officers as he threw the gun over the fence. The officers suspected Smith was involved in a drug deal.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys said he he was thankful for the acquittal and believed he was justified in using deadly force. Prosecutors argued that Smith was defenseless, and Heaggan-Brown fired "in point-blank range". Just one day later, Heaggan-Brown was accused of sexually assaulting a man he met in a bar in Milwaukee. The second one ultimately killed Smith.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked from the Milwaukee Police Department in October over a separate matter in which he is facing charges of sexual assault, according to the Journal Sentinel. Upon hearing the jury's decision, Smith's family gasped and burst into tears.

The reading of the verdict was interrupted by anguished cries from some of the attendees in the gallery. Heaggan-Brown was acquitted of all charges Wednesday.

Heaggan-Brown's attorney said that his client was simply protecting himself and his partner at the time. Nine women and three men sat on the jury, and four of them were African Americans.

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