Ex-Mil­wau­kee of­fi­cer charged in fa­tal shoot­ing of black man

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Pros­e­cu­tors charged a Mil­wau­kee po­lice of­fi­cer Thurs­day with killing a black man in Au­gust, al­leg­ing the man had thrown his gun away and was un­armed when the of­fi­cer fired the fa­tal shot. Do­minique Heag­ganBrown, who is also black, was charged with reck­less homi­cide in the Aug. 13 death of Sylville Smith, which sparked two days of ri­ots on Mil­wau­kee’s north side. In the days af­ter the shoot­ing, both the po­lice chief and the mayor had said that po­lice video clearly showed Smith had a gun and was turn­ing to­ward of­fi­cers when he was shot. Thurs­day’s crim­i­nal com­plaint echoed that, but went on to de­scribe a sec­ond shot, fired into Smith’s chest af­ter Smith no longer had his gun.

Heag­gan-Brown, who was fired in Oc­to­ber over an un­re­lated sex­ual as­sault case, shot Smith fol­low­ing a traf­fic stop. Af­ter flee­ing po­lice, Smith turned with a gun and was shot once in his bi­cep, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. The sec­ond shot oc­curred less than two sec­onds later, af­ter Smith was ly­ing on the ground with his hands near his head, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. Mil­wau­kee County District At­tor­ney John Chisholm said in the com­plaint that the video shows Smith throw­ing the gun over a fence. Heag­gan-Brown told state agents that he be­lieved Smith’s gun “flew” out of his hand over a fence af­ter the first shot. The of­fi­cer said he thought Smith was reach­ing for an­other weapon in his waist­band so he fired the sec­ond shot. Chisholm’s of­fice said he would not hold any news con­fer­ence or is­sue any state­ment Thurs­day on the charge and the video would not be re­leased. Heag­gan-Brown was sched­uled to make an ini­tial court ap­pear­ance Fri­day. His at­tor­ney, Jonathan Smith, said that he hasn’t seen any of the state’s ev­i­dence but a read of the crim­i­nal com­plaint raises “is­sues.” He didn’t elab­o­rate but did prom­ise a “vig­or­ous” de­fense.

Smith’s fam­ily is­sued a state­ment thank­ing Chisholm. “We ap­pre­ci­ate that the District At­tor­ney has shown in­de­pen­dence and sound judg­ment in pros­e­cut­ing the of­fi­cer who shot and killed Sylville,” the state­ment said. “We also ap­pre­ci­ate that this is but the first step in hold­ing that of­fi­cer ac­count­able, but a nec­es­sary step in bring­ing some mea­sure of jus­tice.” His mother, Mil­dred Haynes, told the Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel the charge should have been tougher. “He shot him in the arm and shot him again in the chest . ... To me, he shot to kill,” she said.—AP

Mil­wau­kee County

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