Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Former Milwaukee Cop Found Not Guilty Fatal Shooting Of Sylville Smith


The shooting that sparked unrest in Sherman Park in August of 2016 was unlike nearly any other police shooting in America because the officer who pulled the trigger grew up in the neighborhood, as did Sylville Smith, the man he shot.

Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop August 23. Similarly, the Black Lives Matter movement can be expected to use the incident to incite anti-police sentiment, just as they continue to use the justified killing of Michael Brown who also attacked a police officers (Brown was unarmed).

Bodycam video showed Heaggan-Brown had fired two shots. After Smith was shot, the resulting violence during protests left businesses burned, police cars damaged and officers injured.

"In this unique set of circumstances, you had a legitimate use of force on the first encounter, when the officer reasonably thought that he was presented with the threat of death or great bodily harm". "Do something different in the community, try as hard as you can to be peaceful and form unity with each other. black or white".

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The jury made its judgment after two days of deliberation. 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. Police body camera footage shows the interaction, including when Smith fell to the ground during a foot chase. The officer's defense attorneys argued that he was in fact following police procedure at every step of the incident-particularly a policy that told officers to expect that a suspect with one weapon might have another.

They pulled up on a auto parked too far from the curb that they suspected of being involved in a drug transaction.

Heaggan-Brown's attorney also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The prosecutor argued that Heaggan-Brown fatally shot Smith as the suspect attempted to surrender.

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The verdict - the second acquittal in a week of a police officer facing criminal charges for a fatal shooting, was announced in a tense, emotional courtroom after less than 10 hours of deliberations. That's when Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the arm, and then again in the chest about two seconds later as he was on the ground.

Heaggan-Brown and another officer started CPR on Smith. Heaggan-Brown was wearing a body cam.

But Heaggan-Brown's attorneys say he feared for his safety and had to make a split-second decision.

The reading of the verdict was interrupted by anguished cries from some of the attendees in the gallery. Heaggan-Brown and two officers were making their way back to their district station when they made a decision to initiate one last traffic stop.

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