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Body camera video from Milwaukee shooting won't be released until investigation complete

By Allen Cone
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett brief reporters Monday following two nights of protests and riots over the fatal police shooting of an armed black man by a black police officer. Body camera footage of the shooting will not be released until the Milwaukee County district attorney makes a decision on what charges, if any, to file, Attorney General Brad Schimel said Monday. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Police Department/Twitter
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett brief reporters Monday following two nights of protests and riots over the fatal police shooting of an armed black man by a black police officer. Body camera footage of the shooting will not be released until the Milwaukee County district attorney makes a decision on what charges, if any, to file, Attorney General Brad Schimel said Monday. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Police Department/Twitter

MILWAUKEE, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Body camera footage of a fatal police shooting in Milwaukee won't be released until the Milwaukee County district attorney decides whether to charge anyone, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said Monday.

Sylville Smith was shot dead when he ran from a traffic stop about 3:30 p.m. Aug. 13. Police Chief Edward Flynn said body camera footage shows Smith was armed and turning toward Officer Dominique Heaggan.

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Two officers were wearing body cameras.

But Attorney General Brad Schimel said at a news conference release of the footage could compromise the investigation and it won't answer all the questions about what led to the fatal shooting.

"The investigation is ongoing and it is done only when the prosecutor is satisfied that the investigators have given them all we can," Schimel said. "That means until a charging decision is final there could always be follow-up."

The investigation has included witness interviews, and looked at whether there was a relationship between Smith and the officer who shot him, Heaggan and Smith, both black, knew each other from the Sherman Park neighborhood where both grew up, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

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"In the end, the public needs to have confidence that the process was an effective search for the truth," Schimel said.

An autopsy on Smith showed one gunshot wound to the chest and one to the right arm.

"We do not want to create the worst-case scenario, that the [district attorney] determines that charges might be appropriate and then cannot complete a successful investigation because we let the investigation get compromised," Schmiel said.

Heaggan became a sworn officer in 2013 and no complaint have been filed against him with the city's Fire and Police Commission.

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