CRIME

Latest: Slain man's family upset by ex-officer's acquittal

The Latest in the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in a fatal shooting (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Family members of a black man who was shot to death by a former Milwaukee police officer stormed out of a courtroom after the officer was acquitted in the death.

A jury needed only parts of two days of deliberations before clearing Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith. Heagan-Brown, who is also black, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide.

Smith's family members were shouting and cursing as they left the courtroom as soon as the verdict was read. They were escorted out by a group of sheriff's deputies. One man was held back by the family as he screamed obscenities at a deputy.

Heaggan-Brown shot Smith as he was fleeing. Smith had a gun but had tossed it over a fence right before Heaggan-Brown's second shot hit him in the chest. Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued that he had split-seconds to make his decision.

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2:30 p.m.

A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots in the city.

Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 13. Smith had a gun when he ran, but prosecutors said Smith had thrown the weapon over a fence and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued the officer had to act quickly to defend himself. Bodycam footage showed 1.69 seconds passed between a shot that hit Smith in the arm — as he appeared to be tossing his gun — and the one that hit his chest.

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This version of the story corrects the date of the Smith shooting to Aug. 13 from Aug. 23.

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1:55 p.m.

Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in a fatal shooting that sparked unrest in a predominantly black neighborhood where it happened last summer.

Jurors reached their decision on the second day of deliberations in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The verdict was to be read Wednesday afternoon.

The trial hinged on 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. Smith and Heaggan-Brown are both black.

The Aug. 13 shooting happened after a foot chase that began with Smith running from a traffic stop holding a gun. Prosecutors contend Smith was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest because Smith had thrown his gun over a fence.

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12:20 a.m.

Jury deliberations are entering a second day in the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in a fatal shooting that led to riots in the majority African-American neighborhood where it happened.

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.

Smith and Heaggan-Brown are both black.

The Aug. 13 shooting happened after a foot chase that began with Smith running from a traffic stop holding a gun. Prosecutors contend Smith was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest because Smith had thrown his gun over a fence.

But Heaggan-Brown's attorneys say he feared for his safety and had to make a split-second decision.

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