Milwaukee jury clears ex-cop whose fatal shooting of black man sparked riots

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):

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. 23. 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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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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