A Milwaukee jury on Wednesday acquitted a former police officer in the on-duty shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots on the city’s north side.
Jurors found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 13. Smith had a gun when he ran, but the case hinged on whether he was a threat when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.
Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun over a fence. The video showed the second shot — 1.69 seconds later — hit Smith in the chest as he lay on the ground.
Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless at the time of the second shot because he had thrown the gun over the fence. Defense attorneys argued Heaggan-Brown had to act quickly to defend himself.