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Jury acquits former U.S. cop in fatal shooting of black man

22 June 2017

Dominique Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty during a hearing today over his part in the shooting death of Sylville Smith, 23, who failed to drop his gun during the chase in Milwaukee on August 13 past year.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was acquitted of reckless homicide Wednesday in the death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. Heaggan-Brown fired a shot as Smith threw his gun over the fence, hitting Smith in the chest and firing a second shot 1.69 seconds later.

Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless at the time of the second shot because he had thrown the gun over the fence. Smith was armed when he was being chased and then shot by Heaggan-Brown.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked from the Milwaukee Police Department in October over a separate matter in which he is facing charges of sexual assault, according to the Journal Sentinel.

"The department knew about it, but they don't care because they defend officers with impunity and that is what allows them to kill and shoot first and ask questions later". Every time they take a shot, it's to kill you.

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Previously, a 2014 police shooting death of Dontre Hamilton, who is black, prompted protests.

Heaggan-Brown, 25, faced 60 years in prison.

Heaggan-Brown shot Smith as he was fleeing. Heaggan-Brown is still fighting those sexual assault charges.

"The video shows Smith fall to his back, with his legs and arms going up towards his head in what appears to be a half backwards roll".

During the trial, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm argued Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was not justified in using deadly force when he fired the second and fatal shot Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. An official from Milwaukee County's medical examiner's office said that the second shot traveled through Mr. Smith's heart and lung and was "not survivable".

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

A jury said after five days of deliberation that Yanez had acted reasonably and was not guilty.

He was sacked after being accused of the sexual assault of another man. "Out of the corner of my eye, I see Heaggan-Brown chase him as well", Malafa testified, WITI reported.

In the body camera audio, which was activated 30 seconds after the shooting, Heaggan-Brown was heard yelling at Smith: "Stop reaching". In that lawsuit, they claim that the city kept him employed as a police officer even though he had a "pervasive pattern of excessive force and misconduct".

The former officer still faces charges in an unrelated sexual assault investigation.

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