Political News

The Latest: Ex-Milwaukee cop won't testify in shooting trial

Posted June 16

— The Latest on the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer charged in the death of a black man last year (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The former Milwaukee police officer on trial for killing a black man after a brief foot chase says he will not testify as his defense attorneys begin presenting their case.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown announced his decision Friday after prosecutors finished presenting evidence in a shooting that sparked riots in the predominantly black neighborhood where it happened. The trial adjourned for the day after his announcement.

Bodycam footage from Heaggan-Brown shows the former officer chasing after 23-year-old Sylville Smith immediately after police pulled up to Smith's car. Smith was holding a gun but he threw it over a fence.

Prosecutors argue he was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown shot Smith. But Heaggan-Brown's attorneys say he feared for his life and made a split-second decision.

Heaggan-Brown's defense begins Monday. He is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.


12:20 p.m.

A former Milwaukee police officer charged in a shooting that sparked riots in a predominantly black neighborhood told investigators he feared he and a colleague would be "killed or seriously injured" by the man he fatally shot.

Wisconsin Department of Justice special agent Raymond Gibbs testified Friday about his interview with Dominique Heaggan-Brown two days after the officer shot Sylville Smith Aug. 13. Gibbs was the final witness to testify as prosecutors concluded their case.

Heaggan-Brown's defense begins Friday afternoon. He is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and faces up to 60 years if convicted.

Smith was armed when he ran away from police during a traffic stop but prosecutors say he had thrown his gun over a fence when Heaggan-Brown fatally shot him. His attorneys say he made a split-second decision fearing for his life.


12:09 a.m.

Prosecutors are wrapping up their case in the trial of a former Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot a black man and sparked riots last year in a predominantly African-American neighborhood.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the Aug. 13 death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith.

Bodycam footage from Heaggan-Brown and another officer show the fatal encounter lasted about 12 seconds after police approached Smith during a traffic stop. Smith ran away holding a gun and Heaggan-Brown chased after him.

Prosecutors on Thursday said Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, shot Smith in the chest after he had thrown away his gun over a fence. Heaggan-Brown's attorneys say he was making a split-second decision and believed Smith was still armed.

The trial is expected to conclude next week.


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