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Former Milwaukee Police officer pleads not guilty to charge in fatal shooting of Sylville Smith
Posted at 10:16 AM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 16:17:38-05
The former Milwaukee Police officer charged with first-degree reckless homicide in connection with the shooting death of Sylville Smith will go to trial.
Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who was fired from MPD in October, waived a preliminary hearing Friday morning, before he and his attorneys entered a plea of not guilty.
In a criminal complaint, prosecutors allege Heaggan-Brown shot Smith twice during a foot chase on August 13.
They say both shots were fired within 1.69 seconds. According to prosecutors, Smith was holding a weapon when Heaggan-Brown allegedly pulled the trigger the first time.
But Smith was on the ground, unarmed, when the second shot was fired.
"Things are, so far, going exactly as most of these cases traditionally go," said District Attorney John Chisholm following Heaggan-Brown's appearance in court Friday.
The shooting was captured on a police body camera.
Chisholm said he was prepared to present at least part of the body camera footage in court, had Heaggan-Brown not waived his hearing.
The District Attorney said he doesn't feel it's appropriate to release evidence to the public before it's shown in court.
"The only time I will put out evidence related to cases is within the context of litigation itself, and that's my ethical obligation," Chisholm said. "We don't draw undue attention to the case."
Speaking after the hearing, Smith's brother, Sedan Smith, said he understands the DA's decision but his family still very much wants to see the video footage released to the public.
"The public needs to see what type of police we have on the streets today," Sedan Smith said.
Heaggan-Brown is also facing unrelated sexual assault charges. He remains in custody at the Milwaukee County Jail.
Chisholm said court proceedings in the other case will not impact how he handles the reckless homicide charges.
"Those are two distinct case that will follow separate tracks," Chisholm said.
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