dimanche 21 août 2016


Sylville Smith's family need answers !

Tell Wisconsin AG Schimel : Release the tape ! 

Dear friend,

On August 13, 2016, 23-year-old Sylville Smith was shot and killed by Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown during a traffic stop that turned deadly, a narrative we’ve heard far too often. According to Police Chief Edward Flynn, the 20-25 second incident was recorded on a police body camera.1
The police have failed to release the footage to the public and are biasedly reporting only Sylville's role in the incident, which is a common tactic used to criminalize Black folks in order to justify killing them. Police body cameras are supposed to increase transparency and accountability but too many departments don't want to give the public access to the footage.

Milwaukee residents have been protesting and demanding the city release the videotape since the night Sylville was shot by police. Although the community uprising was sparked by the killing of Sylville, many local officials and Sylville’s brother acknowledge the community response as being the byproduct of no transparency, lack of police accountability and racial disparity. City Alderman Khalif Rainey stated in a CNN article, “This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country."2 And data confirms Milwaukee ranks in the top five worst cities on every indicator of racial injustice.3 
The narrative about what happened to Sylville and the community's response is only coming from law enforcement and elected officials. Now that Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown has been identified as the officer who shot Sylville, reports have surfaced that Heaggan-Brown knew Sylville from attending the same high school.4 Community members are also complaining that Heaggan-Brown is known for being extremely aggressive and antagonistic with Black communities. The family of Sylville and his community deserve to know the truth as seen on camera--not as told by the police.The Mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett called for a quick public release of the body camera footage, but no action has been taken.5
Communities across the country fought for body cameras to hold police accountable, not further protect them.We can’t afford to continue to spend millions of dollars on police technology, like body cameras, only to be denied access to footage. Practices like this undermine the transparency and pathway to accountability we were promised.


Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Enchanta, Malaya and the rest of the Color Of Change team


  1. "Tension High After Police Shooting," CNN 08-16-2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6661?t=6&akid=6162.1942551.X0vQHu
  2. "Alderman Khalif Rainey pleads for peace:'Contact me, reach out to me,'" TMJ 4 News 08.15.2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6660?t=8&akid=6162.1942551.X0vQHu
  3. "Milwaukee's staggering black-white economic," CNN Money 08.17.2016http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6662?t=10&akid=6162.1942551.X0vQHu
  4. "Milwuakee officer knew Sylville Smith, family says," http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6663?t=12&akid=6162.1942551.X0vQHu
  5. "23-Year-Old Black Man Killed By Milwaukee Police Officer Is Identified," The Huffington Post 08-15-2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6658?t=14&akid=6162.1942551.X0vQHu

Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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