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Vol. 81/No. 1      January 2, 2017


Milwaukee cop charged in killing of Sylville Smith

After months of “investigation,” former Milwaukee cop Dominique Heaggan-Brown was charged Dec. 15 with first-degree reckless homicide showing “utter disregard for human life” in the shooting death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith in August. Both Smith and Heaggan-Brown are African-American. The killing led to several days of protests in Milwaukee’s North Side as demonstrators clashed with cops in riot gear.

Mildred Haynes, Smith’s mother, told the media she was glad to hear that Heaggan-Brown will be prosecuted, but thinks the charges should have been more severe. “He shot him in the arm and shot him again in the chest,” she said. “To me, he shot to kill.”

Prosecutors say Heaggan-Brown and another officer chased Smith, who had a gun but threw it away over a fence. Heaggan-Brown fired a shot at Smith, hitting him in the arm, and Smith fell to the ground. His weapon was never discharged.

The cop “standing a short distance from Smith with his weapon pointed down at Smith,” the complaint says, then “discharges a second shot from his weapon at what appears to be Smith’s chest.” Smith had his hands up and near his head. The incident was captured on cop body cameras but the video has not been made public.

The video discredits police claims that Smith pointed a gun at Heaggan-Brown before he was shot down.

If convicted Heaggan-Brown, 24, faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. He has also been held in jail since October on unrelated charges of raping an intoxicated man the day after he shot Smith. Earlier that evening the two had been in a bar watching TV coverage of protests against the killing. Heaggan-Brown has been fired by the Police Department.
Related articles:
Calif. vigil denounces cop killing of Francisco Serna
Socialist Workers Party candidate joins protest
Cop gets jail time for killing Andrew Thomas in Paradise, Calif.
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