The assignment was simple—to write a persuasive essay defending the actions of the Ku Klux Klan—yet the reactions to it were anything but. Parents of the 12- t0 14-year-old students who were given the essay prompt at the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM), a charter school in Wisconsin, were startled enough by the…
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE)
He’s being charged with first-degree reckless homicide
(MILWAUKEE) — A former Milwaukee police officer is charged with reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of a black man that sparked two nights of riots.
Dominique Heaggan-Brown is charged in the Aug. 13 shooting death of Sylville Smith. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm did not announce the charge, but it showed up Thursday in online court records that also indicated the former officer had made an initial court appearance. Smith had a gun, but charging documents allege that the shot that killed him was fired after he no longer had the weapon.
Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, shot Smith following a traffic stop on the city’s north side. According to a criminal complaint, Heaggan-Brown and another officer chased Smith on foot after he fled from the car. The officers’ body cameras show Smith was carrying a semi-automatic pistol.
Smith fell, got back to his feet with the gun still in his hand, turned toward the officers and raised the gun, according to the complaint. Heaggan-Brown fired a single shot, striking Smith in the arm. The video shows that Smith then threw his gun over the fence. Heaggan-Brown then shot him in the chest, the complaint says. The two shots occurred in less than two seconds of each other. After the second shot, Smith appeared to reach toward his waistband but the body camera footage shows at the time of the second shot Smith was unarmed.
Chisholm’s office said he would not hold any news conference or issue any statement on the charge.
Police Chief Ed Flynn said shortly after the shooting that the incident began when police stopped a suspicious rental car. Smith bolted from the vehicle and ran through a residential neighborhood. Heaggan-Brown gave chase and opened fire after Smith turned toward the officer and began to raise his gun despite Heaggan-Brown’s warnings to drop it, Flynn said.
The neighborhood where Smith was killed is predominantly black. Heaggan-Brown grew up there and has lived near the shooting scene since at least 2012.
Police didn’t release either man’s race the day of the shooting. That night, the neighborhood erupted in violence. Demonstrators burned six businesses and a police squad car.
Flynn released more details the following day, including Heaggan-Brown’s race and that his body camera showed Smith was armed. Flynn didn’t release the video, however, and more violence broke out that night. Protesters again threw rocks and bottles at police, and an 18-year-old man was shot and injured. Police arrested about 40 people over the course of the three nights. Flynn blamed protesters from outside of Milwaukee for much of the unrest.
Flynn fired Heaggan-Brown in October after he was charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case. According to a criminal complaint, Heaggan-Brown and another man went to a bar late on the night of Aug. 14 where they drank heavily and watched television coverage of the riots. The man told investigators that Heaggan-Brown bragged that he could do anything he wanted without repercussions, and that he woke up to Heaggan-Brown sexually assaulting him.
Heaggan-Brown also was charged with soliciting two other people for sex several times since December 2015 and with sexually assaulting another unconscious person in July 2016 and photographing that victim naked. He faces two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault, two misdemeanor prostitution counts and one felony count of capturing an intimate representation of a person without consent.
So, there has been another police shooting, this time in the city of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Some folks, especially black folks may be mad at me for this title I used today, so be it. I have not read or heard of which skin color the Police Officer has but we do hear that the man shot was a young black man. So, what happens as soon as the word gets out? Black folks go to the streets and start a riot, burning several businesses to the ground along with several vehicles, brilliant isn’t it? There is an old saying don’t sh– where you live yet this ignorance continues. Now the people who live there have got to go to other stores to do their shopping and not all people have transportation so this ignorance has only hurt the local population.
For now, I am backing the police on this shooting, do you remember the slogan, innocent until proven guilty? The criminals who participated in this riot last night and this morning prove by their actions that they themselves are exactly that, criminals that should be arrested and thrown into prison. They prove by their own actions that they have no interest in the truth of the matter! The Milwaukee County Sheriff Mr. Clarke who happens to be a black person also, has requested from the Governor Mr. Walker and from the Major General who is in charge of the Wisconsin National Guard for help in stopping this stupidity. It is my personal belief that the National Guard if they are deployed should have the right, and be given the order, to shoot on site any violent protesters. This is for the safety of the rest of the population as there is no excuse for the violence.
The Sheriff has publicly stated that the Officer is a three-year veteran of the police force and that he did have a body camera on him. Why is it that these local folks who participated in the riot would not wait to see if what the Officer said happened is the actual truth? Do the black communities in America really want there to be no Police within their communities? Folks, it is the community leaders in most cases who plead with the Mayors for there to be a bigger Police presence within their communities because of there being so much crime where they live and work. If the video shows that the Officer was lying he should be fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. I to have come across many very crooked Police Officers in my life, I know that they are just like all other humans, there are good ones and bad ones. But the people who chose to riot last night are showing that they are the problem within their own communities by not waiting to see what that body camera shows the truth to be!
Here are a few facts about what happened last evening for you to consider. If what the Officer said is the truth, that he was chasing the suspect because he took off and ran once the Officer’s stopped the car, then the Officer was simply doing what he is supposed to do. If it is the truth that the Officer ordered the man to stop, and that the man had a pistol in his hand and he was ordered to drop it, and he did not, the Officer did what he had to do. Sense the man was shot in the chest and not the back it appears that the Officer was telling the truth. The Sheriff says that the gun the man had been one that was stolen in a robbery about three months ago, along with 500 rounds of ammo. Also consider the fact that there was a double murder just four nights before in that exact location, one by bullets and the other via a knife. The people of the community wants there to be less crime yet it is the community that is doing the crime. This is an issue that people in the black communities struggle with all over the country, no one wants Police violence but their presence is a necessary evil especially in areas that have high crime rates. All people have the right to be and to fill safe in their daily lives and the best way to ever accomplish this is if we raise our children to be kind and loving people. If we don’t care for and raise our children and we leave the streets and the gangs to raise them then the local communities will never be a safe place for anyone. We as a society can not blame the Police Officers for them doing their jobs and trying to stay alive till the end of their shifts. Either that or we should dismiss all the Police Agencies and let the gangs be the law of all our neighborhoods.