Ex-MPD officer Heaggan-Brown's defense argues he shot and killed Smith in self-defense

Opening statements in the case of former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggen-Brown were completed this afternoon.

Jurors will have to decide if Haggen-Brown shot and killed Sylville Smith in an act of self-defense or reckless homicide.

The jury is made up of 11 women and 4 men. 12 jurors and 3 alternates. The ethnic breakdown of the jury is as follows: eight are white, six are black and there is one Asian woman. They will be sequestered during the case, which is expected to last into late next week.

Both sides say the officer’s body camera video will be a critical point of evidence in this case. They agree you see Sylville Smith with a gun and pointing it at officers before Heaggen-Brown fires the first shot.

It’s after the first shot where the sides disagree. Defense attorneys say Smith was reaching for his waistband potentially for another gun.

The state agrees Smith was reaching for his waistband, but another gun was never found and neither officer searched for it after the second shot was fired. That second shot is what killed Smith according to District Attorney John Chisholm.

Defense attorney Jonathan Smith says Heaggen-Brown fired fearing for his and the other officer’s safety.

On Wednesday, witnesses in the case will begin to testify. Prosecutors expect to call Heaggen-Brown’s duty partner to the stand.
 

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