Milwaukee jury clears ex-cop in black man’s death

Dominique Heaggan-Brown listens to the statement he made to investigators after the shooting is read back to him in court by Special Agent Raymond Gibbs of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. Heaggan-Brown, a former Milwaukee police officer on trial in a fatal shooting that sparked riots in a predominantly black neighborhood, said Friday he will not testify, as his attorneys prepare to begin presenting his defense. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via AP, Pool)

MILWAUKEE (AP) – 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. 23. 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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