The Milwaukee Police Department has released video showing officers using a Taser on Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown during a January incident that stemmed from a parking violation in a Walgreens parking lot. The NBA player was hit with the stun gun despite the fact he wasn’t “combative” or “threatening” during the incident, a source, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel prior to the video’s release, adding that it was “very bad.” You can watch the body cam video released by the police above.
The incident occurred January 26, 2018, about 2 a.m., Milwaukee Police said in a press release issued Wednesday, May 23, along with the body camera video. Police Chief Alfonso Morales said in the statement an investigation revealed officers “acted inappropriately” and were “recently disciplined,” while no charges were filed against Brown. Details about the discipline received by the officers were not released. Their names have not been released, but police officials said their information would be made public at a later date.
“During the encounter Mr. Brown was decentralized, tased and arrested. I am sorry this incident escalated to this level,” Morales said in the statement. “When I took office, I vowed to rebuild trust between the Milwaukee Police Department and the community. We are doing that. I promised that when the Department is involved in events of this nature, we will be honest about them. We are.”
Brown, a 23-year-old Illinois native who was drafted by the Bucks in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft out of SMU and played in 54 games during his rookie season, is planning on suing the Milwaukee Police Department, his lawyer told the Journal Sentinel. His attorney, Mark Thomsen of Gingras, Cates & Wachs, told the newspaper Brown plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit. It is not clear when the suit will be filed.
In the days leading up to the release of the bodycam footage, Milwaukee officials went on what amounted to an apology tour, asking for the public to forgive the actions of the officers and work with the city to move forward from what happened.
“It was a disturbing video when I saw it, and I know that the police chief feels the same way,” Mayor Tom Barrett told the Journal Sentinel on Monday. “And I don’t know exactly what actions his department is going to take, but it is disconcerting to see some of the actions in that video.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales posted a “Message to the Community” on YouTube ahead of the video’s release. saying he will defend officers when they are right and admit when they are wrong:
“If there’s ever an incident where one of our members makes a mistake, unnecessarily escalating a situation, I’m going to be honest and transparent about it,” he said. “In those instances where we have made mistakes and are wrong, I’m sorry.”
Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson spoke at a gathering of faith leaders on Sunday, and told them, “There’s going to be a video that is going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department. I’m going to be honest with you. We’re going to need your support during the challenges, WITI-TV reported.
The incident occurred about 2 a.m. on January 26, 2018 at a Walgreens on 26th and National, according to WTMJ-TV. Brown was stopped by officers who were questioning him for double parking in handicapped spots. The officers said they spotted a car parked across two handicapped spots in the parking lot. Police said in a statement the officers spoke to Brown and “an electronic control device was deployed.”
Brown was taken into custody on suspicion of a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer, but after investigators watched the body camera footage, police decided not to refer him to prosecutors for charges. He was cited for a parking violation, police said.
The initial police report stated that Brown was inside the store when officers approached. A passenger was inside the vehicle and told officers that Brown was the one who had been driving the car. Police said in the report that when Brown came out of the Walgreens, officers asked him to step back and he refused. The report stated that Brown became “very aggressive” and “physically resisted” the officers’ attempts to handcuff him. “A taser had to be employed to get Brown in control with handcuffs,” the police report said.
But the body cam video appears to contradict what police said. A previously released surveillance video showed several police vehicles at the scene:
According to the Journal Sentinel, the internal affairs investigation into the incident was still open and ongoing as of May 22. It is not known if any criminal charges will be recommended against the officers. Brown did not face any criminal charges as a result of the incident.
Brown played in a game later on the day of his arrest and had bruises and marks on his face, the newspaper reported. He told reporters it was a “personal matter” and declined to discuss it further. Brown’s attorney has told the local media he is not going to comment on the video until it is released.
Morales, the city’s police chief, also declined to comment, telling WTMJ-TV, “I’m not going to release anything until we finalize our statement and finalize the last bits of the investigation.”
Milwaukee Police Union President Mike Crivello told the news station, “Use of force never looks good but I remind all that may hear is that the amount of force is always dictated by the individual who may be resisting the arrest.”
In a statement Wednesday, Morales said, “I also promised to change the direction of the Department and through meetings with intergovernmental partners, community-based and faith organizations, and system partners we have begun that process. The men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department are dedicated to protecting and serving the citizens of Milwaukee. We have hundreds of interactions with citizens each day and those contacts end positively. Therefore, we ask residents to work with us in our shared vision of making Milwaukee a safe place to live, work and raise a family.”
Source: Heavy Sports