Ex-cop not guilty in Milwaukee shooting death that sparked riots
August 23 2017, 11:16 | Irvin Gilbert
Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun over a fence. Smith fell to the ground, where Heaggan-Brown shot at him again, striking him in the chest. "It was only one person that took my son's life and that's Heaggan-Brown".
Barrett tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that people have a right to gather. Mayor Tom Barrett said police would have a strong presence in the Sherman Park neighborhood hit by the previous unrest, and urged any demonstrations be peaceful.
Smith's confrontation with police created exactly the situation the law is designed to address.
One of the bigger issues during the trial involved the fact that Smith - who was indisputably carrying a gun at the start of the 12-second on-foot pursuit - was not holding the firearm during both moments when Heaggan-Brown shot him.
Attorneys for a former Milwaukee police officer acquitted in the fatal shooting of a black man say the officer always believed he was justified in using deadly force.
Heaggan-Brown experienced the encounter in "real time", not in frame-by-frame motion as it was shown to the jury, Willis said, according to WTMJ. Attorney Steven R. Kohn is at upper right.
Previously, a 2014 police shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, who is black, prompted protests.
It also was less than a week after a Minnesota officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was cleared of manslaughter by a jury in the fatal shooting of a black motorist. He faced up to 60 years in prison if he had been convicted.
"The jury's verdict was based on the objective evidence before it", Flynn said in a statement Wednesday.
A prosecutor argued that Heaggan-Brown's second shot hit a defenseless Smith. The sexual assault case was not mentioned during the trial because it is being handled separately and knowledge of it could prejudice the jury.
Sylville Smith's father Patrick Smith made a similar plea for peace. Heaggan-Brown shot a fleeing Smith last August, setting off two nights of violence on the city's north side. But the jury disagreed.
Heaggan-Brown was the third United States law enforcement officer to be tried for a shooting in the last week.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said officers stopped the vehicle Smith was travelling in on the account he was "behaving suspiciously". "It's not. We have to go back - and I can't tell exactly how many frames but we have to go back two-tenths or three-tenths of a second - we have to go back several frames ... to delve into the decision-making process that goes into firing this shot". "It's a decision the community had to make", Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said, expressing disappointment over the case.
Smith's family members reacted angrily to the verdict, swearing and storming from the courtroom. They deliberated just under 10 hours over two days. Heagan-Brown, who is also black, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide. They were escorted out by a group of sheriff's deputies.
A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man past year that ignited riots in the city.
This version of the story corrects the date of the Smith shooting to August 13 from August 23.
But ultimately, jurors ruled in favor of the now former officer.
The reading of the verdict was interrupted by anguished cries from some of the attendees in the gallery.
Prosecutors argued that it was unnecessary when Heaggan-Brown discharged his weapon a second time.
While activist groups such as Black Lives Matter have drawn attention to police shootings in recent years, acquittals of police officers have become all but expected in these sorts of incidents. As they exited their squad auto, Mr. Smith, who was armed with a handgun, darted away and ran into a yard with a chain-link fence. Four of the jurors are African-American.
Deliberations resume Wednesday and jurors have to decide whether Dominique Heaggan-Brown acted in self-defense when he killed Sylville Smith or if the former officer is guilty of first-degree reckless homicide or two lesser charges.