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Latest: Former Milwaukee cop ‘thankful’ at acquittal

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

4:40 p.m.

Attorneys for a former Milwaukee police officer acquitted in the fatal shooting of a black man say the officer always believed he was justified in using deadly force.

Jonathan Smith said Dominique Heaggan-Brown is “thankful for the jury” that found him not guilty Wednesday of first-degree reckless homicide for the death of Sylville Smith last August.

Another of his attorneys, Steven Kohn, said there “is not joy in a case like this” because “a young man lost his life.”

Smith’s death sparked riots in the predominantly black neighborhood where it happened.

Heaggan-Brown ran after Smith when he fled from a traffic stop and shot him in the arm and chest. Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest because Smith had thrown away his gun.

Heaggan-Brown’s attorneys argued the encounter that unfolded over 12 seconds forced the officer to make a split-second decision to defend himself.

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4:20 p.m.

Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn says the jury that cleared an officer Wednesday in the shooting death of a black man saw the same thing he did in officers’ body-camera video of the shooting.

Flynn defended Dominique Heaggan-Brown last August in the aftermath of the death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. The shooting ignited riots on the city’s north side, but Flynn said that he felt based on video that the shooting was justified.

Flynn says the jury saw the same evidence he did and came to the same conclusion.

A prosecutor argued that Heaggan-Brown’s second shot hit a defenseless Smith. But Heaggan-Brown’s attorneys played bodycam video to show the two shots he fired came just 1.69 seconds apart — illustrating how little time the officer had to decide.

Heaggan-Brown was fired two months later after he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault.

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3:30 p.m.

The family of a man slain by a Milwaukee police officer has filed a civil lawsuit against the now-former officer and the city.

Attorney David Owens announced the lawsuit minutes after a jury acquitted Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith. Heaggan-Brown shot a fleeing Smith last August, setting off two nights of violence on the city’s north side.

A prosecutor charged Heaggan-Brown with reckless homicide, arguing that Smith no longer had a gun and was defenseless when he was shot a second a time. But the jury disagreed.

Owens says it’s become clear since the shooting that Heaggan-Brown never should have been on the force. The officer was fired two months after the shooting when he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault.

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3:15 p.m.

The father of the man who was fatally shot by a Milwaukee police officer acquitted of charges in the shooting says there is no justice in the death of his son, Sylville Smith.

Patrick Smith reacted outside the courthouse in Milwaukee where Dominique Heaggan-Brown had just been found not guilty in Smith’s death. Patrick Smith asked why police officers are trained to kill and questioned why his son was shot while he was on his back defenseless.

Heaggan-Brown shot Smith as he was fleeing. Smith had a gun but had tossed it over a fence just before Heaggan-Brown’s second shot hit him in the chest. Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says he doesn’t agree with the jury’s decision, but respects it.

Heaggan-Brown’s attorneys argued that he had to make a split-second decision.

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This version corrects the last name of Sylville Smith’s father to Smith, not Haynes.

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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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