Smith was running with a handgun which body camera footage revealed but prosecutors argued that since he was throwing his gun as he was being shot in the arm, that the subsequent shots in his chest did not need to occur. Four of the jurors are African-American.
Dominique Heaggan-Brown was acquitted by a jury that deliberated for two days and concluded that he was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith last August 23 after a traffic stop. "He knew that Sylville Smith was attempting to surrender", Chisholm said. It was the second one, that Smith was then lying on the ground unarmed and wounded and defenseless when the officer fired the second shot.
Heaggan-Brown faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.
Following the not guilty verdict delivered Wednesday, the DOJ released video captured at the scene of the shooting and a written interview, and Heaggan-Brown told investigators he nearly didn't pull his gun that afternoon.
When the video is slowed frame-by-frame, Smith is seen holding the gun by the barrel to throw it over the fence.
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According to the complaint, when Heaggan-Brown parked he immediately hopped out of his auto with the intent to arrest Smith and his friend, despite lacking probable cause.
Bodycam video showed Heaggan-Brown had fired two shots. According to a report by HuffPost a year ago, only 13 officers were convicted of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings from 2005 to 2015. Smith, who was armed with a handgun, ran away from the officers when he saw them exit their squad auto. An official from Milwaukee County's medical examiner's office said that the second shot traveled through Mr. Smith's heart and lung and was "not survivable". Prosecutors argued that Smith no longer posed a threat.
Heaggan-Brown was the third USA law enforcement officer to be tried for a shooting in the last week. Smith's death arrived while being pursued on foot by Heaggan-Brown after fleeing a traffic stop.
Smith's family members reacted angrily to the verdict, swearing and storming from the courtroom. "It wasn't a situation he asked to be put in", said Jonathan Smith, Heaggan-Brown's attorney, after Wednesday's verdict.
Heaggan-Brown chose not to testify in the trial.
The fatal shooting sparked several days of rioting in Smith's predominantly black Milwaukee neighborhood. Heaggan-Brown fired his first shot - a shot the prosecution conceded was lawful - and then fired the second, fatal shot less than two seconds later, just after Smith had thrown away his pistol The prosecution claimed that the second shot constituted reckless homicide.