The 2017 shooting of an unarmed Black man by Milwaukee police was, at the time, ruled justified because it was believed Jerry Smith Jr. had a gun. However, newly released footage from the August 2017 shooting proves Smith, who was left partially paralyzed, was not only unarmed, but on his way to the ground when he was shot.
Police body camera video showed the moment Smith spread his arms and fingers wide as four Milwaukee Police Department officers surround him on the rooftop of a building.
Officers Melvin Finkley and Adam Stahl chased the then-19-year-old Jerry Smith Jr. to the rooftop after he fled from a street fight, the Journal-Sentinel reported. In the video, Smith began to get on the ground when Finkley and Stahl fired at least three shots at close range.
In June, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern ruled in June that officers Finkley and Stahl were justified in shooting, yet Daniel Storm, an investigator working on Smith’s behalf, says the “chilling” video contradicts the DA’s office.
“This was wrong,” Storm told CBS 56. “We know what’s needed in this community. It’s not ice cream and toys, it’s accountability. The Black community will never trust a cop.”
Storm is now pushing to have federal prosecutors look at the case or have the case sent to a grand jury.
“The only way you’re going to get this community to have any faith in any of these black-and-white cars going up and down the streets is to let a jury decide,” he told the local news station.
Although Smith, who is now suing the city, survived the ordeal, he will suffer permanent partial paralysis in his right leg.
(Photo: Milwaukee Police Department)