May 22, 2018

Milwaukee ex-cop who fatally shot Sylville Smith found not guilty

26 June 2017, 02:30 | Guillermo Sutton

Dominique Heaggan Brown

Dominique Heaggan Brown

Smith headed for a yard that had a chain link fence and hurled his gun over just as Heaggan-Brown fired his gun at Smith.

The jury, which was sequestered, began deliberations on Tuesday - less than a year after the shooting in northwest Milwaukee.

Even as jurors in Wisconsin cleared Heaggan-Brown, another jury was weighing the fate of a different officer.

During the trial, Chisholm noted that Heaggan-Brown didn't pat down Smith after the second shot, a odd omission if he truly believed Smith might still be armed. Smith reportedly had a gun when he ran, but the case hinged on whether he was a threat when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.

Prosecutors had argued Dominique Heaggan-Brown committed a felony when he fired the shot that killed 23-year-old Sylville Smith, report the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the New York Times and The Associated Press.

"This isn't over at all by any means", David Owens, the Smith family attorney said.

A woman, one of the handful there supporting Heaggan-Brown, stood up and celebrated the verdict, while family members and other supporters of Smith erupted in anger, prompting court security to escort some people out of the courtroom.

Officer Heaggan-Brown has pleaded not guilty to those charges. He then threw his gun over the fence, according to dashcam footage of the encounter.

Heaggan-Brown's former partner, Ndiva Malafa, testified last week they were chasing Smith, 23, because they saw he had a gun.

Black off-duty St. Louis officer shot by white officer
Seven officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave, as is department policy after a shooting. On Tuesday, a federal judge awarded $1.5 million to the parents of Michael Brown, according to the Associated Press .

Chisholm has said that Heaggan-Brown was justified when he fired the first shot, but argues the second shot was unnecessary.

PITROF: Well, first of all, the district attorney, he - when he charged the former officer with first-degree reckless homicide, he said that it wasn't that first shot that was in dispute.

In his initial statement a year ago, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Smith pointed a gun at the officers. It happened less than two seconds after the first.

Before the fatal shooting near 44th and Auer on August 13th, 2016, Heaggan-Brown had only been a Milwaukee police officer for three years.

The shooting death of Smith sparked two nights of riots in the predominantly black Sherman Park neighborhood. "It wasn't a situation he asked to be put in", said Jonathan Smith, Heaggan-Brown's attorney, after Wednesday's verdict.

Smith was killed in August 2016 after fleeing a traffic stop. P.O. Heaggan-Brown is observed standing a short distance from Smith with his weapon pointed down at Smith when Heaggan-Brown discharges a second shot from his weapon at what appears to be Smith's chest.

Heaggan-Brown and two other officers were doing overtime patrol on August 13 prior to the start of their regular 4 p.m. shifts.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys took less than a day before resting their case.

A jury needed only parts of two days of deliberations before clearing Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith.

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