US police officer in city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin state gets off scot-free for killing black man

June 22, 2017 2:00 pm

Body-camera video showed Dominique Heaggan-Brown shooting Sylville Smith as he appeared to be throwing the gun over a fence. (Photo by AP)

A court in the city of in state has acquitted a former police officer in the fatal shooting of an African-American man, with the father of the victim saying there is no justice in
Dominique Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in the killing of 23-year-old Sylville Smith in August last year. Members of Smith’s family cried in court as the verdict was read. 
Outside court, Smith’s father said the verdict was “disrespectful.”
“Why are they trained to kill when they’re supposed to protect and serve us?” Patrick Smith said of police officers. “There is no justice here.”
“I want the community to calm down and come together,” he added. 
The fatal shooting of Smith sparked days of protests and unrest in Milwaukee, with protesters throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at police officers.
Following the unrest, the city mayor decided to impose a 10:00 pm-curfew for in an attempt to quell the violence and restore calm. Dozens of protesters had been arrested and a handful of officers injured.
According to reports, Smith was fleeing a traffic stop on foot and had allegedly turned with a gun in hand toward the pursuing officer.
Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun away. And less than two seconds later, the footage shows the officer firing the second shot in the chest of the victim who’s lying on the ground.
Prosecutors argued Smith was defenseless at the time of the second shot because he had thrown the weapon over the fence
The ex-cop’s attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense.
The ruling follows Friday’s acquittal of a police officer in the state of Minnesota over the shooting death of a black man, triggering local protests and fueling debate over the use of force by law enforcement against minorities.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez was accused of killing 32-year-old student Philando Castile, a cafeteria worker, inside his car as he tried to reach for his driver’s license during a traffic stop near St. Paul in July last year.
A jury said after five days of deliberation that Yanez had acted reasonably and was not guilty. He was also cleared of two lesser charges regarding the case.
The rulings are the latest examples of police officers escaping unharmed after killing African Americans over the past few years.
Similar rulings were issued by grand juries in the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, all of them controversial cases that prompted a national debate about race relations and the use of force by law enforcement.
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