Fired Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty in the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith.
According to Fox6Now, the jury returned the not guilty verdict on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide after entering into a second day of deliberations on Wednesday.
Prosecutors attempted to argue that Smith was defenseless and “looked like a child” when he was on the ground, unarmed—having thrown a firearm he had over a fence—at the time that then-Officer Heaggan-Brown shot him.
However, defense attorneys countered that Heaggan-Brown was forced to make a split-second decision after encountering the initially armed Smith during a foot chase that followed a traffic stop, Fox6 notes.
Smith’s shooting death prompted two nights of volatile protests in Milwaukee.
Smith’s grieving family accused Heaggan-Brown of having a “personal vendetta” against Smith, claiming that the two knew each other from high school.
“The officer knew him personally from high school, and he still shot him,” Sherelle Smith, Sylville Smith’s sister, said in August. “He didn’t like my brother. The officer had a career, but my brother was more popular. He used to harass Sylville.”
But ultimately, jurors ruled in favor of the now former officer. According to Fox6, jurors also had the option to pick from two lesser charges instead of first-degree reckless homicide. They could have opted for second-degree reckless homicide or homicide by negligent operation of a dangerous weapon, but jurors acquitted Heaggan-Brown on those charges, too.
Heaggan-Brown faces another trial in August for allegedly sexually assaulting a man just two days after the shooting.
He was fired from the police force, not because of the homicide charges he faced, but because of the allegations of sexual assault.
Read more at Fox6Now.