MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in the death of a black man last year (all times local):
Relatives of a black man shot by Milwaukee police officer walked out of a courtroom crying after seeing video from another officer’s body camera showing a foot chase that quickly turned fatal.
The video shown Wednesday during the trial of former officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown was the first time the public saw how a shooting that sparked riots last year unfolded. Heaggan-Brown is charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith.
The video shows Smith fleeing from a traffic stop holding a gun before being shot seconds later as he approached a chain link fence.
Prosecutors say Smith had thrown his gun over the fence and was no longer armed when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest. But Heaggan-Brown’s defense attorneys say he feared for his life.
Jurors in the trial of a Milwaukee police officer charged with killing a black man fleeing a traffic stop were expected Wednesday to see footage of the shooting from an officer’s body camera.
An officer who witnessed Dominique Heaggan-Brown shooting 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a foot chase will be taking the stand to testify about the Aug. 13 shooting, which sparked riots in a predominantly black neighborhood where it occurred.
Prosecutors charged Heaggan-Brown with first-degree reckless homicide, saying Smith was unarmed on the ground when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest. Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, says he believed Smith may have been reaching for a firearm.
Smith had a gun when he ran from police. But prosecutors say video footage will show he had tossed it when Heaggan-Brown fired the fatal shot.
Heaggan-Brown, who was fired in October after being charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case, faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted for killing Smith. At the time of the shooting, Heaggan-Brown had been an officer for three years — a recruit from the Sherman Park neighborhood where the riots occurred.
During opening statements Tuesday, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm called the body camera footage from Heaggan-Brown and another officer the “most essential evidence” jurors will see. Defense attorneys said that same footage will explain why Heaggan-Brown feared for his life when he shot Smith.
On Wednesday, prosecutors began their case by showing photographs of where the shooting happened in a path between two houses. Jurors saw photos of Smith dead and laying on the grass with a bloodied purple shirt. By his feet was a lottery ticket that crime scene investigators found in one of his pockets.
A special agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which investigated what happened, testified about Heaggan-Brown’s demeanor after the shooting.
“He seemed emotionally and cognitively present,” special agent Raymond Taylor said.