A step forward for justice in the shooting death of Sylville Smith
Statement of Alderman Khalif J. Rainey December 15, 2016
I welcome the news today that the District Attorney’s office has charged former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown with first-degree reckless homicide in the fatal on-duty shooting of Sylville Smith. But also, I cannot help but feel some hope that the wheels of justice might finally be grinding into action.
This is a significant step for the integrity of the justice system in a case that has caused great pain in the Sherman Park neighborhood, and has sent shockwaves throughout our city, state and nation. Through its independent investigation, the state’s Department of Justice has determined that Smith raised his gun and was tossing it away when Officer Heaggan-Brown opened fire on him. Acting on their findings, the District Attorney today announced the charges. I do not think that there can be any doubt that the District Attorney was right to do so.
My thoughts are with the Smith family today as their search for truth and rectitude continues. I hope that they find some comfort in the fact that their son’s killer is being prosecuted, and I hope as well that we learn many more of the answers to their questions.
We should strive for a world in which no one is above the justice system—especially those who take an oath to protect and serve their community. Today’s decision was a step in that direction, but there remains much work to do.