Swift acquittal for former Milwaukee cop charged in shooting


An investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice found that former-Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown nearly didn't pull out his gun before shooting Sylville Smith last summer. Heaggan-Brown, also African American, pulled over Smith and then, after Smith fled, engaged in a foot chase.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued that he had to make a split-second decision.

Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun away.

While a jury found Heaggan-Brown not guilty of homicide, he's still facing charges for sexual assault and prostitution - and two federal civil rights lawsuits. The video showed the second shot — 1.69 seconds later — hit Smith in the chest as he lay on the ground.

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"Jumping out of the auto in this manner was part of the City of Milwaukee's "jump out boys" practice and custom where MPD police officers would go to predominately African-American neighborhoods, would pull up next to people (whether on foot, on a bike, or in a car), detain them without probable cause-another unconstitutional practice-and often use excessive force along the way", the lawsuit states.

Former Milwaukee PD officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown has been found not guilty.

The defense called just one witness, an expert on police procedures and use of force.

Sylville Smith's sister Sherelle Smith made a plea for peace outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Wednesday. "When families lose a loved one in a preventable situation by a system that should be there to protect and serve them, it's a deep-rooted, painful and traumatic situation".

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"Any prosecutor will tell you that self-defense cases are tough cases", Chisholm told a news conference after the verdict. "They made that decision". The shooting last August had led to days of protests and violence.

The family says that Smith posed no threat and that Heaggan-Brown was never in any danger that would justify the use of deadly force. "And our argument is that justification did not change over the course of 1.69 seconds between shots". He was officially let go by the Milwaukee police department on October 31, 2016, according to WITI. When the man, Smith, saw the police he took off running with both officers in pursuit. "He was confronted by an armed criminal, and we're all fortunate that we didn't lose an officer", Crivello said.

Willis testified that Heaggan-Brown acted in "accordance with his training", CNN affiliate WTMJ-TV reported. Patrick Smith said of police officers.

Before he was charged in Smith's death, Heaggan-Brown was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting someone during the intense protests prompted by the shooting. Heaggan-Brown and two officers were making their way back to their district station when they chose to initiate one last traffic stop. It was later determined that Heaggan-Brown's first shot struck Smith in his right bicep area with the bullet passing through Smith's bicep and lodging in a window casement to the east of the shooting.

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Malafa's body camera footage was played several times in court, according to WTMJ.