Family reacts angrily to Milwaukee ex-cop's acquittal


Heaggan-Brown's attorney Jonathan Smith, said by telephone that no officer wants to use deadly force, but his client did what he was trained to do. Smith fell to his back when Heaggan-Brown shot him again less than a couple seconds later in his chest.

In Milwaukee, Smith's death brought to the surface long-simmering tensions between black residents and police, and demonstrators assembled near the site of the shooting in Sherman Park hours after it happened.

"The jury's verdict was based on the objective evidence before it", Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said in a statement after the verdict was announced. He added that he'd "seen nothing in the [body camera] video that was a violation of the law or policy".

In the encounter with Smith, Heaggan-Brown and two other officers had approached Smith's rental auto because it was parked more than a foot from the curb and they believed a drug deal was about to take place.

The family's attorney, David Owen, said he has filed a lawsuit against Heaggan-Brown and the city of Milwaukee.

Smith ran into a yard carrying a semi-automatic handgun, according to the complaint. Body camera footage, which was publicly released and shown in court, pointed toward the possible discrepancy in Heaggan-Brown's self-defense claim. He then gets to his feet and throws the gun over the fence. After Smith was shot, the resulting violence during protests left businesses burned, police cars damaged and officers injured.

His testimony centered on the 1.69 seconds separating the two shots.

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While the officer and the victim in this case were both African American, it was one in a series of fatal shootings of black people across the United States.

An autopsy showed that Smith had a gunshot wound through his upper right arm and another to his right upper chest.

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.

Heaggan-Brown had previously said he believed Smith "was reaching for his waist so he discharged his weapon a second time".

"Mr. Heaggan-Brown knew at the time he fired that second shot that Sylville Smith had already disarmed himself", Chisholm told the jury, WISN-TV reported.

After two days of deliberations, jurors found ex-officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Smith.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked in October when he was charged with two counts of assault in a separate investigation.