Jury deliberations begin in police shooting

A jury decided the former officer should not be criminally responsible for fatally shooting of Smith last summer, a killing that sparked two nights of violence in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, the former officer, was charged with homicide late a year ago for fatally shooting Sylville K. Smith, who fled from a traffic stop in August 2016.

After the verdict, the Smith family's attorney David Owens said they had filed a lawsuit against Heaggan-Brown and the U.S. City of Milwaukee.

Deliberations resume Wednesday and jurors have to decide whether Dominique Heaggan-Brown acted in self-defense when he killed Sylville Smith or if the former officer is guilty of first-degree reckless homicide or two lesser charges.

After Smith was shot Heaggan-Brown and Officer Ndiva Malafa check on each other. "Do something different in the community, try as hard as you can to be peaceful and form unity with each other ... black or white. The department, in making defendant Heaggan-Brown an officer deliberately ignored the obvious red flags present at the time he was made an officer", the complaint states.

The ruling follows Friday's acquittal of Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez, 29, in the shooting death of black motorist Philando Castile, whose dying moments were livestreamed on Facebook.

Last week, jurors saw body camera footage that showed the incident.

Jonathan Smith, a lawyer for Heaggan-Brown, said the former officer was relieved by the outcome. They believed it was involved in drug dealing.

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In the separate case, a man told investigators that Heaggan-Brown sexually assaulted him while off duty two days after the shooting death of Smith.

Smith, who was armed at the time, threw a gun over a nearby fence.

The night after the shooting of Mr. Smith, prosecutors said Officer Heaggan-Brown went to a bar, met a man, drank heavily and "bragged about being able to do whatever" he wanted "without repercussions".

The first shot fired by Heaggan-Brown was justified, Chisholm said, because Smith was holding the gun.

On these facts, the Milwaukee prosecutor chose to charge Heaggan-Brown with homicide.

In tears outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse Wednesday, Sylville Smith's sister Sherelle made an emotional plea for peace after the former officer who killed her brother was acquitted. The prosecution even argued that the initial shot, which hit Smith in the arm, was justified. The verdict was to be read Wednesday afternoon. Nine women and three men sat on the jury, and four of them were African Americans.

Heaggan-Brown was sacked from the police force in October over unrelated sexual assault charges.

Heaggan-Brown's attorney said that his client was simply protecting himself and his partner at the time.

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