The Latest: Chief: Must be more to shooting charge decision

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 6:10 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a former Milwaukee police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black man that sparked riots in the city (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

Milwaukee's police chief says it still appears to him that an officer who was charged with reckless homicide for shooting an unarmed black man was justified and there must be more evidence that prosecutors haven't released.

District Attorney John Chisholm charged Dominique Heaggan-Brown on Thursday in Sylville Smith's August death. According to a criminal complaint, Smith fled during a traffic stop with a gun in his hand. Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the arm and Smith either threw the gun over a fence or the weapon flew out of his hand. Regardless, he was unarmed when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest, killing him. Both shots were fired in less than two seconds.

Chief Ed Flynn told reporters it takes time for the brain to tell the finger to stop pulling the trigger. He says he assumes there's more evidence that hasn't been released.

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4:10 p.m.

Milwaukee's mayor is calling again for prosecutors to release body-camera video of a police officer shooting a black man to death.

District Attorney John Chisholm charged Dominique Heaggan-Brown on Thursday with reckless homicide in Sylville Smith's death in August. According to a criminal complaint, Smith fled during a traffic stop with a gun in his hand. Heaggan-Brown shot Smith in the arm and Smith either threw the gun over a fence or the weapon flew out of his hand. Either way, he was unarmed when Heaggan-Brown shot him in the chest, killing him.

Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters Thursday that it appears the first shot was justified but the second wasn't. The mayor said he still hasn't seen the full body-camera video. Barrett said soon after the shooting and said again Thursday that he has seen only a still shot of the video that shows Smith turning toward Heaggan-Brown with the gun in his hand.

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1:50 p.m.

The attorney for a former Milwaukee police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black man is promising a "vigorous" defense.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown was charged with reckless homicide on Thursday in the death of Sylville Smith. Authorities say Smith was shot in August following a traffic stop.

Heaggan-Brown's attorney, Jonathan Smith, says he hasn't seen any of the state's evidence but that the criminal complaint raises issues. He didn't elaborate, but said "the defense in this matter will be a vigorous one."

A criminal complaint says body-camera video shows Sylville Smith was raising a handgun when he was shot the first time in his bicep, but that he was unarmed when he was shot a second time in the chest. Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, told investigators he thought Smith was reaching for another gun in his waistband when he fired the fatal shot.

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1:05 p.m.

Authorities in Wisconsin still aren't releasing police video of a shooting that killed a black man in August even though the Milwaukee officer has been charged with reckless homicide.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on Thursday charged Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the death of Sylville Smith.

A criminal complaint says body-camera video shows Smith was raising a handgun when he was shot the first time in his bicep, but was unarmed when he was shot a second time in the chest.

Smith's death sparked two nights of violence. Community activists have called for the body-camera footage to be released.

Chisolm's office says it can't release the video until ordered to do so by a judge. The office says the earliest that could happen is at Heaggan-Brown's first court appearance Friday.

Heaggan-Brown was fired in October.

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12:10 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he isn't going to "prejudge" the guilt or innocence of a former Milwaukee police officer who is charged with reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man.

Walker was asked on Thursday about prosecutors' decision to charge former officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown.

The governor says he isn't going to "prejudge him until he goes through the legal process and we see ultimately what a jury or court decides on this."

Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, is charged in the Aug. 13 shooting death of Sylville Smith. The shooting sparked two days of riots.

Walker says law enforcement officers are, overwhelmingly, doing a "tremendous job." But the governor says that if officers break the law, "they should be held accountable."

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11:30 a.m.

A former Milwaukee police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black man will have his initial court appearance on Friday.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown is due to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. He is charged with reckless homicide in the Aug. 13 death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith.

A complaint filed by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says Smith had a handgun when he was first shot in the arm by Heaggan-Brown, but was unarmed and had his hands near his head when the officer shot him a second time in the chest.

Smith's slaying set off two nights of unrest on Milwaukee's north side.

Heaggan-Brown was fired in October after he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault case.

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11:20 a.m.

The family of a black man who was fatally shot by a Milwaukee police officer is welcoming a prosecutor's decision to charge the now-former officer with reckless homicide.

A statement from Sylville Smith's family said Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm showed "independence and sound judgment" in bringing charges against Dominique Heaggan-Brown.

Heaggan-Brown shot and killed Smith on Aug. 13, sparking two nights of violence on Milwaukee's north side. Heaggan-Brown was fired in October after he was charged in an unrelated sexual assault case.

The Smith family statement called the charge "the first step in holding that officer accountable."

A criminal complaint said Smith had a gun when he was shot the first time, in his bicep, but was unarmed when he was shot a second time in the chest.

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10:40 a.m.

A criminal complaint charging a former Milwaukee police officer with reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of a black man says the man was unarmed when the officer fired the shot that killed him.

Dominique Heaggan-Brown is charged with reckless homicide in the Aug. 13 shooting death of Sylville Smith.

The criminal complaint says police body-camera footage shows that Heaggan-Brown's first shot came when Smith was raising a handgun and passed through Smith's bicep. It says the handgun flew out of Smith's hand over a nearby fence.

The complaint says the body-camera video showed Smith was on the ground, unarmed and had his hands near his head when Heaggan-Brown shot him a second time in the chest.

The complaint says Heaggan-Brown fired the second shot because he believed Smith was reaching for his waist.

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10:20 a.m.

A prosecutor has charged a former Milwaukee police officer in a fatal shooting of a black man that sparked two nights of riots.

District Attorney John Chisholm charged Dominique Heaggan-Brown with first-degree reckless homicide. Chisholm didn't announce the charge, but it appeared in online court records.

Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith following a traffic stop on Aug. 13. Police Chief Ed Flynn has said Heaggan-Brown chased Smith after he fled on foot.

Flynn says Heaggan-Brown fired after Smith turned around with a gun in his hand and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

Heaggan-Brown was fired from the police department in October, after he was charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case.

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This item has been corrected to delete erroneous mention of Heaggan-Brown's initial court appearance. It is scheduled for Friday, not Thursday.