Former Wisconsin Officer Who Fatally Shot Sylville Smith Acquitted on Homicide Charges [VIDEO]
Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who fatally shot Sylville Smith during an August 2016 foot chase, was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide on Wednesday (June 21).
According to FOX6 News, the jury began deliberations on Tuesday (June 20) and came with their verdict today. Heaggan-Brown was facing 60 years in prison if he was convicted.
Smith's family was in the courtroom and can be heard crying after the not guilty verdict was read by the judge. The shooting death sparked days of unrest in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said he's disappointed in the verdict, but he respects the jury decision. "We prosecuted a strong case. It's a decision the community had to make," Chisholm said.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said in a statement via Twitter, "A year ago I told the public I'd seen nothing in the video that was a violation of the law or policy. The jury saw the same evidence and came to the same conclusion."
Outside of the courthouse, Smith's father, Patrick Smith, said there is no justice in the death of his son. "Why are they trained to kill when they supposed to protect and serve us?" he said. "There is no justice here."
Sylville Smith's sister, Sherelle Smith, asked for calm and for people to come together in peace. "We all bleed the same. We all hurt the same. And it don't feel good to lose anybody," she said. "So just, please, don't give them a reason. If you can walk away or change your life just please just try to change your life. It's better that you're here to make our community great."
Smith family's attorney, David Owens, also announced that a civil lawsuit has been filed against the former officer and the city of Milwaukee, Wisc. He said that Heaggan-Brown should have never been on the force. The officer was fired two months after the shooting when he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault.
This latest news follow last week's acquittal of a Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez who fatally shot Philando Castile in a traffic stop. Castile's last dying breath was captured by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who live-streamed it on Facebook Live.
News of Dominique Heaggan-Brown's acquittal has sparked plenty of reactions on Twitter. You can read some of them below.