Human Rights

Ex-Police Officer Charged In Shooting That Sparked Milwaukee Protests

The former officer is accused of shooting a man twice, and prosecutors allege the second shot was fired when the man was unarmed.

Ex-Police Officer Charged In Shooting That Sparked Milwaukee Protests

Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown is facing a reckless homicide charge in the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith.

Heaggan-Brown was fired from the Milwaukee Police Department two months after the August shooting when he was charged in an unrelated case involving the sexual assault of two men.

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After Smith's death, several days of protests in the city were highly publicized. They turned violent the first two nights after the incident; several businesses were set on fire along with a police car.

Heaggan-Brown was wearing a body camera the night of the shooting, and the Milwaukee Police Department says that footage shows Smith was armed when he initially ran from officers.

The criminal complaint alleges Smith raised his gun before former officer Heaggan-Brown shot him once, but the complaint also alleges when Heaggan-Brown shot Smith a second time he "was unarmed and had his hands near his head."

Smith's family released this statement concerning the charges: "We always believed that Sylville should be alive today, and that this rogue officer was completely wrong. Though the decision to prosecute cannot bring back Sylville, justice is needed for our family as we continue to move through deep grief and seek justice for his wrongful death."

As of Thursday afternoon, Milwaukee police hadn't released footage of the shooting to the public. Heaggan-Brown will make his initial court appearance Dec. 16.