Milwaukee, WI - A Milwaukee County jury found former Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty on Wednesday of all charges for the Sylville Smith shooting on August 14, 2016.
The Sylville Smith shooting sparked massive rioting in Milwaukee last year after false claims were made that Smith was unarmed at the time he was shot. Despite bodycam footage showing the gun, people continued to spread false rumors that he was unarmed and shot in the back.
Shortly after the shooting, Sherlle Smith, Sylville Smith's sister, advised that even if the body cam footage shows Sylville with a gun, she still wouldn't believe that the shooting was justified.
"If my brother did have his gun in his hand, why he didn't shoot back? If he's gonna go out, why not go out with a fight? Why not go out with a big bang?" asked Sherelle.
Sherelle Smith told Fox6Now that Smith and the officer went to high school together. However, the fact that they knew each other only makes the situation worse in her eyes.
"The boy knew my brother personally from high school. They knew each other. You knew exactly how my brother was and you shot and killed him," Sherelle said.
The Sylville Smith shooting happened during an overtime patrol on August 13, 2016. Dominique Heaggan-Brown and another officer attempted to stop Smith after they believed he was just involved in a drug transaction. Smith fled on foot with a gun in his hand as officers chased him and ordered him to drop the gun.
When Smith got to a fence, gun still in hand, Dominique Heaggan-Brown shot him once in the arm. 1.69 seconds later, Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the chest.
Prosecutors claimed that the first shot was legally justified, but the second shot wasn't justified because Dominique Heaggan-Brown had 1.69 seconds to re-evaluate the situation and determine that Smith lost his gun after being shot.
Dominique Heaggan-Brown testified that he believed that Smith, being non-compliant, was reaching for another weapon.
A police expert testified that Heaggan-Brown acting in accordance with his training.
Despite this shooting being legally justified, Dominique Heaggan-Brown was fired in October after a man reported that an off-duty Heaggan-Brown had sexually assaulted him. Further investigation found that Heaggan-Brown had solicited other men for sex in exchange for money. He is still facing charges from that unrelated case for:
Second degree sexual assault (two counts) Prostitution (two counts) Capture an intimate representation without consent
At the time of Heaggan-Brown's arrest, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said, "These are grave charges, these are charges that go to the heart of our conduct of conduct of our oath to protect and serve. The issue surrounding the shooting (of Sylville Smith) is gonna have to be decided on the lawfulness of the shooting, and the context of the events in which it occurred -- not the character of the individual who did the shooting."
You can see bodycam footage from the Sylville Smith shooting below. Video starts about 18 seconds in: