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Ex-Milwaukee Officer Charged In Fatal Shooting That Triggered Riots

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 15, 2016 6:19PM

The former Milwaukee police officer whose fatal shooting of a black man in August sparked two nights of riots has been charged with reckless homicide.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, fatally shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith on Aug. 13 after a traffic stop. The criminal complaint reportedly states that, during a foot chase, Heaggan-Brown first shot Smith, who had a pistol, in the arm. Bodycam footage reportedly shows Smith then tossing away his weapon, after which Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the chest.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney, John Chisholm, did not report the homicide charge, according to the Associated Press. It became public after court documents were released online on Thursday.

Details about the shooting were scarce immediately following the shooting; and violent protest tore through the neighborhood where the killing occurred. A second night of unrest followed after Police Chief Ed Flynn acknowledged that police video footage existed but declined to make the clip public. Multiple businesses were burned and another man, 18, was injured in a separate shooting. The shooting and subsequent turmoil cast a light anew on Milwaukee’s long history of segregation and racial tension.

Heaggan-Brown was fired from the force in October over an unrelated sexual assault charge. Heaggan-Brown allegedly assaulted another man after having boasted to him the night before, while watching coverage of the riots, that he could behave without impunity. It was one in a long line of alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, including multiple solicitations of prostitution and photographing a naked, unconscious person, who was also allegedly his victim of sexual assault.