MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots in the city.
Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 23.
Smith's family members stormed out of a courtroom after the officer was acquitted.
Smith's family members were shouting and cursing as they left the courtroom as soon as the verdict was read. They were escorted out by a group of sheriff's deputies. One man was held back by the family as he screamed obscenities at a deputy.
Smith had a gun when he ran, but prosecutors said Smith had thrown the weapon over a fence and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.
Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued the officer had to act quickly to defend himself. Bodycam footage showed 1.69 seconds passed between a shot that hit Smith in the arm - as he appeared to be tossing his gun - and the one that hit his chest.
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