Bodycam shows shooting of black man by Milwaukee officer

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Bodycam video from a former Milwaukee police officer on trial for killing a black man shows the officer yelling "stop reaching" even as the man was not moving on the ground.

The details emerged Thursday as jurors saw the video from the body camera of Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the Aug. 13 death of Sylville Smith, 23.

It was the first time the public has seen the shooting from Heaggan-Brown's vantage point and his reaction immediately after. The shooting sparked two nights of riots in the predominantly black neighborhood where it happened.

But the case differs from other police shootings that have given rise to a national debate over how officers interact with African Americans. Heaggan-Brown is also black and he grew up in the same neighborhood where the shooting occurred.

Jurors at Heaggan-Brown's trial saw bodycam video on Wednesday from the vantage point of another officer on the scene. That video from the other officer and Heaggan-Brown's show how rapidly a routine traffic stop escalated.

Immediately after stepping out of his patrol car, Heaggan-Brown's camera shows Heaggan-Brown briefly pointing the gun at Smith as he begins running after him. He puts his gun back in his holster as Smith, who is holding a gun, turns into a path between two houses.

Smith slips and falls near a fence and reaches for the gun he had dropped.

When the video is slowed frame by frame, Smith is seen holding the gun by the barrel to throw it over the fence.

The two shots by Heaggan-Brown came within two seconds of each other, striking Smith once in his right arm and then in the chest as he hits the ground.

It took about 12 seconds from the moment Heaggan-Brown exited his vehicle to the point where he was standing over Smith with his firearm pointed at his body, which was not moving.

As he stood over Smith after shooting him, Heaggan-Brown yells at him to "stop reaching."

Moments later he checks to see if he's still alive.

"Hey man, you still there?" he said, before touching Smith's neck to check for a pulse. After pumping Smith's chest with his hands a few times, Heaggan-Brown looks down at his hands and notices blood and asks for gloves.

Heaggan-Brown, 25, faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of killing Smith but he's already lost his job. He was fired in October after being charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case.

Prosecutors say the second shot from Heaggan-Brown was unnecessary. But Heaggan-Brown's defense attorneys say the officer believed Smith was still armed and feared for his life. They also say the former officer was forced to make split-second decisions.

The trial is expected to conclude by the middle of next week.


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