Former Milwaukee Officer Found Not Guilty In Shooting Death Of Black Man
- Author: Sidney Guerrero Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 6:03
Sherelle Smith spoke shortly after a 15-person jury found former officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty Wednesday of first-degree reckless homicide in the on-duty fatal shooting of Sylville Smith a year ago.
However, defense attorneys countered that Heaggan-Brown was forced to make a split-second decision after encountering the initially armed Smith during a foot chase that followed a traffic stop, Fox6 notes.
Smith's family members reacted angrily to the verdict, swearing and storming from the courtroom.
No protests were immediately evident.
Smith's family filed a civil lawsuit against Heaggan-Brown and the city, family attorney David Owens announced after the verdict. At that moment, Heaggan-Brown fired at him, hitting his right arm. Attorney Steven R. Kohn is at upper right. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm told the jury that Smith was "in the most vulnerable position that he can possibly be in", adding that "he looks like a child", Fox6 reported.
Heaggan-Brown has since been fired from Milwaukee PD in an unrelated sexual assault case. He was sacked after being accused of the sexual assault of another man.
Heaggan-Brown's former partner, Ndiva Malafa, testified last week they were chasing Smith, 23, because they saw he had a gun. 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. The protesters burned eight businesses and a police vehicle and when it was over, 40 demonstrators had been arrested and a handful of officers hurt.
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.
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In Cincinnati, a jury began deliberations Monday in the retrial of former University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing in the fatal shooting of a motorist during a July 2015 traffic stop. The shaky footage shows him trailing behind Heaggan-Brown, who is chasing Smith. He put his gun back in his holster as Smith turned into a path between two houses. He started reaching for it as he stood up, with his left hand holding the fence. As they exited their squad vehicle, Mr. Smith, who was armed with a handgun, darted away and ran into a yard with a chain-link fence.
A prosecutor argued that Heaggan-Brown's second shot hit a defenseless Smith.
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.
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. His first trial ended last November with a hung jury.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said he was content with the verdict.
Using frame-by-frame video from the officers' body cameras, prosecutors argued that while the first shot fired by Mr. Smith was reasonable, the second shot was not. Thirty-four of those cases, or 41 percent, have ended in non-convictions. The remaining cases are pending. "Do something different in the community, try as hard as you can to be peaceful and form unity with each other. black or white".
"At the same time, they understand that this tremendous amount of discretionary power is given to police officers - the power over life and death in certain circumstances - and they want that to be accountable". "A police officer is a police officer".