Former Wisconsin Officer, Acquitted In Fatal Shooting, Takes Sexual Assault Plea Deal

Jan 18, 2018
Originally published on January 18, 2018 7:35 pm

Last June, a jury found former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide. Now, Heaggan-Brown is taking a plea deal over separate sexual assault allegations that led the Milwaukee Police Department to fire him.

The shooting death of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black man, ignited riots in the north side of Milwaukee in August 2016.

Under today's deal, according to The Associated Press, "Prosecutors dropped the most serious charges of second-degree sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and obtaining someone's image without their consent, and he pleaded no contest to one count of false imprisonment."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that all the charges are felonies.

"All but the capturing image charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and three years of extended supervision. The image charge maximums are 18 months in prison and two years of extended supervision.

"Two of the original charges were second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated or unconscious victim, punishable by up to 25 years in prison."

Sentencing has been set for Feb. 20.

The AP has details about the charges:

"One of the sexual assault charges stemmed from a case that happened one day after Smith's shooting. The victim in that case told police Heaggan-Brown, 26, assaulted him after a night of drinking at a bar where they watched coverage of the ongoing riots.

"Using photographs and other data from the officer's cellphone, prosecutors determined Heaggan-Brown sexually assaulted another unconscious victim in July 2016. Prosecutors say Heaggan-Brown also photographed that victim naked without the person's consent."

As The Two-Way reported, Heaggan-Brown was on patrol with another officer when they stopped two men in August 2016. Here's more from our previous coverage of the fatal shooting:

"The complaint states that the deadly encounter started when Heaggan-Brown and the other officer saw a man leaning in through the passenger window of a car with out-of-state license plates, talking to another man. It added that Heaggan-Brown had said in an interview that he thought it 'could be consistent with drug activity.'

"Smith ran into a yard carrying a semi-automatic handgun, according to the complaint. It says police body camera video shows Smith slip to the ground near a chain link fence. He then gets to his feet and throws the gun over the fence.

"This is the moment Smith was shot twice — once before, and once after he threw the gun. The time between the two shots was 1.69 seconds."

According to the complaint, body camera video from the two officers shows that "at the time of the second shot, Smith was unarmed and had his hands near his head."

Heaggan-Brown's lawyers argued that he was defending himself and did not know whether Smith had another weapon.

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