Sylville Smith's family greets charging decision with mixed emotion

Posted at 10:48 PM, Dec 15, 2016

As word broke that the former Milwaukee police officer who shot and killed Sylville Smith will face charges, Smith's family is not celebrating.

"How happy can you be knowing that your loved one was never wrong? He didn't deserve what happened. He's gone," said Sedan Smith, the brother of Sylville Smith.

Sedan Smith spent weeks coming to the tree where his brother was shot at 44th and Auer near Sherman Park. It lead to conflicts with the neighbors and run-ins with police. Sedan Smith said he was doing it to mourn his brother and keep the focus on his case.

"He was shot at while he was running. Then to be, you know like the criminal complaint says stood over and executed, it's just unjust," said Sedan Smith.

Sedan Smith and his family believe without the body camera video there would not be any charges against Dominque Heaggan-Brown. And that the separate case of sexual assault against the former officer might have even helped this case.

"I also believe that in this case he kind of made it easy with everything else that was going on with him to be sacrificed or thrown under the bus...Not saying that he is less guilty of what he did to Sylville, he definitely deserves that," said family friend Vaun Mayes.

Heaggan-Brown's attorney Jonathan Smith said the former officer is not guilty of reckless homicide. He said the video is not being looked correctly.

"There is 1.69 seconds in between the first and second shot but what we are doing now or what seems to have been done is somewhat akin to replay. So we are looking back on it and things unfold very differently in real time," said Jonathan Smith.

It's a video the family is still asking to be released for the public.

"In no way was that protecting or serving the community," said Sedan Smith.

The family is also asking for a public apology from Mayor Tom Barrett and Chief Ed Flynn for Sylville Smith's death. Heaggan-Brown is due in court Friday afternoon for a first appearance on the reckless homicide charge.