Family urges calm after Milwaukee ex-cop's acquittal

Defense attorneys for Heaggan-Brown argued he had to act quickly to defend himself from Smith.

A former Milwaukee police officer, whose fatal shooting of a black man past year sparked two nights of rioting, was found not guilty in the killing on Wednesday.

A jury cleared a former black Milwaukee police officer of all charges in connection to his shooting of a black man Wednesday. During the foot chase, prosecutors claimed, Smith threw his gun over a fence and was defenseless when the officer shot him. Heaggan-Brown, a former Milwaukee police officer on trial in a fatal shooting that sparked riots in a predominantly black neighborhood, said Friday he will not testify, as his attorneys prepare to begin presenting his defense.

Relying mostly on body camera footage from Heaggan-Brown and a second officer, authorities said the first shot struck Smith in the arm as he was raising his right hand, which was holding the gun.

Smith - who had a "lengthy arrest record" - was lying on the ground when he received another shot that killed him. Jonathan Smith, Officer Heaggan-Brown's lawyer, told jurors that officers were taught to use the "one-plus rule" - or to expect that if a person has one weapon, he might have another.

Smith's family members were devastated and angry about the cop's acquittal as they stormed out of the courtroom.

Former Milwaukee police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown appears in Milwaukee County Court on Tuesday.

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Heaggan-Brown is still facing multiple charges of sexual assault.

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.

Mr Smith was armed with a pistol, but threw it over a fence before his death. They could have opted for second-degree reckless homicide or homicide by negligent operation of a risky weapon, but jurors acquitted Heaggan-Brown on those charges, too. It was at that point that Heaggan-Brown shot him again ... fatally. The video showed the second shot - 1.69 seconds later - hit Smith in the chest as he lay on the ground. Heaggan-Brown and two officers were making their way back to their district station when they made a decision to initiate one last traffic stop.

He faces a jury trial in August in that case, in which he is accused of raping a man with whom he had been drinking.

While the officer and the victim in this case were both African American, it was one in a series of fatal shootings of black people across the United States.

But Heaggan-Brown's attorneys say he feared for his safety and had to make a split-second decision.

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