Family urges calm after Milwaukee ex-cop's acquittal


22 June, 2017

A former Milwaukee police officer, whose fatal shooting of a black man previous year sparked two nights of rioting, was found not guilty in the killing on Wednesday.

The encounter started as a traffic stop and turned into a foot chase. But a prosecutor argued he had thrown it away and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown shot him a second time.

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

But defense attorney Smith argued his client followed training and fired the second, fatal shot because he believed his life was in danger. "And our argument is that justification did not change over the course of 1.69 seconds between shots".

The alleged sexual assault occurred on the morning of August 15 after a night of heavy drinking at a bar where the two men "sat and watched television as coverage of the Sherman Park protests [over Smith's death] aired", the criminal complaint said.

Mr Heaggan-Brown had already been fired from the police force due to a separate investigation accusing him of sexual assault. According to CNN, Willis "wrote the use of force manual used by Milwaukee police officers".

Defense attorneys noted there were less than two seconds between the shots and said if the first shot that hit Smith in the arm was justified, so was the second.

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Flynn defended Dominique Heaggan-Brown last August in the aftermath of the death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. He was sacked after being accused of the sexual assault of another man.

Attorney David Owens announced the lawsuit minutes after a jury acquitted Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith. Jurors are also being given the option to choose from two lesser charges instead — second-degree reckless homicide and homicide by negligent operation of a risky weapon.

Smith's grieving family accused Heaggan-Brown of having a "personal vendetta" against Smith, claiming that the two knew each other from high school. Heaggan-Brown fired the first shot nearly simultaneously with Smith throwing away his gun when he got up.

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

It also was less than a week after a Minnesota officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was cleared of manslaughter by a jury in the fatal shooting of a black motorist. Smith, who was armed with a handgun, ran from the officers until he reached a fence. According to Fox6, jurors also had the option to pick from two lesser charges instead of first-degree reckless homicide. Smith and Heaggan-Brown are both black.

The 12 person jury, which included four blacks, sided with the defense.

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

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