A Milwaukee police officer, whose killing of a man last August sparked several days of rioting, is now accused of multiple sex crimes. Dominique Heaggan-Brown, 24, has been charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and prostitution. One of the crimes allegedly happened the day after he shot and killed 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith, whose death provoked outrage and unrest over the perceived heavy hand that law enforcement uses against people of color.
It was August 13th when Heaggan-Brown stopped a car Smith was in, and Smith fled the scene on foot. Heaggan-Brown said Smith had a gun in his hand, which was found at the scene and linked to a recent home robbery, and that he told him to stop running several times before fatally shooting him. Despite both men being African-American, Smith’s death was seen as yet another unnecessary killing of a black man by law enforcement who are too quick to resort to the most severe forms of violence when dealing with people of color.
Prosecutors claim that the following night, Heaggan-Brown was drinking at a bar with a man he met on Facebook. As watching footage of the riots played on the bar’s TV, and the men did multiple shots of liquor, the young officer bragged that he could do whatever he wanted without facing repercussion. Hours later that same night, Heaggan-Brown brought the man to an area hospital, because the man was incoherent. While being treated, the man told hospital staff he had been raped.
While investigating the incident, detectives found pictures of Heaggan-Brown engaged in sex acts with multiple men on his phone, as well as email solicitations to pay for sex. In interviewing the men in the photographs, one man alleged that he had been drinking with Heaggan-Brown one night, and woke up naked the following day at his house. Heaggan-Brown told the man nothing had happened between the two of them sexually, but when detectives showed the man photos of himself and Heaggan-Brown having sex, the man said it was non-consensual.
Mike Crivello, resident of the Milwaukee Police Association, said in a statement, “The MPA condemns all criminal behavior by any member of society, whether part of this organization or not,” and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said, "No matter the rank or circumstances, Milwaukee police officers must be held to the highest standard of conduct." While Heaggan-Brown is not currently facing charges in the death of Smith, if convicted the sexual assault charges could land him 90 years in prison and over $200,000 in fines. He has been suspended with pay from the Milwaukee Police Department and is being held on $100,000 bail.
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