The state Department of Justice will not release videos of an officer-involved shooting that sparked violent protests in Milwaukee until after its investigation is done and prosecutors make a decision about whether to file any charges.
Authorities have previously said that a body camera from the officer who shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith on August 13 showed Smith had a gun in his hand at the time, while Attorney General Brad Schimel revealed Monday that a second body camera video of the shooting also exists. Both videos are being held for now, a decision Schimel said is meant to protect the integrity of the investigation and prevent potential complications down the road.
Schimel also cautioned that the videos do not provide a full picture of the circumstances surrounding the shooting. “Viewing the body camera videos will not answer all of your questions,” he said. “Your questions will be better answered when the videos are viewed in the context of all of the information.”
Smith’s death resulted in two nights of violent protests in Milwaukee, during which multiple people were injured and several businesses were burned down.
Schimel said the Division of Criminal Investigations continues to interview witnesses and is treating the case as a high priority. “The investigation is expedited, but not rushed…we are following up on every lead and, only when we are satisfied we have followed every lead to the end, will the entire case be turned over to the district attorney.”
The attorney general did not offer a specific timeline for when the DOJ investigation will be complete.