Dominique Heaggan-Brown, the ex-Milwaukee Police Department officer who shot and killed 23-year-old Sylville Smith, was indicted today (December 15) on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison. Local station FOX6 reports that he will appear in court tomorrow.
Heaggan-Brown, 24, was fired in October after an internal investigation into his five pending charges for sexual assault. Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department’s records show that he is currently in jail with the bail set at $100,000.
Police allege that Smith was holding a stolen gun when he was pulled over for a traffic stop on August 13, and that he was shot because he refused to drop it. Smith’s family says he had a concealed-carry license. Body camera video has not been released despite days of protest in the city, and the district attorney said today that it will not be made public. Both Heaggan-Brown and Smith are Black.
Smith’s family issued a statement following the indictment:
We appreciate that the district attorney has shown independence and sound judgment in prosecuting the officer who shot and killed Sylville. We also appreciate that this is but the first step in holding that officer accountable, but a necessary step in bringing some measure of justice.
We always believed that Sylville should be alive today, and that this rogue officer was completely wrong. Though the decision to prosecute cannot bring back Sylville, justice is needed for our family as we continue to move through deep grief and seek justice for his wrongful death.