The Milwaukee Police Department has released video footage of the arrest of Sterling Brown, a Proviso East High School graduate and Milwaukee Bucks guard.
There was significant buildup to the release of the footage on May 23, with even Milwaukee’s mayor, Tom Barrett, calling the video “disturbing” and “disconcerting,” according to a report by SBNation.
The footage shows police approaching Brown as he leaves a Milwaukee Walgreen’s around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26. An officer forcefully questiones Brown, saying, “Hi you doing? You got a driver’s license?”
Brown’s response is largely inaudible until the officer pushes him while aggressively telling the player to “back up.”
“Don’t touch me,” Brown says in the tape. “Don’t touch me.”
The officer then chides Brown for parking across multiple handicap spaces and asks to see his ID, according to the footage. Some minutes later, at least four other officers arrive and question Brown, who stands in the same spot before officers tase him.
According to a CBS News report: “Officers had been checking on a vehicle parked across two handicap spaces. Brown was not charged.
“Officers initially claimed Brown threatened them while they were writing him a ticket. At no point in the video does Brown appear to be threatening or violent to the officers before he was tased and arrested.”
According to a USA Today report, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said in a prepared statement that the “department conducted an investigation into the incident which revealed members acted inappropriately, and those members were recently disciplined.”
On May 22, Brown’s attorney announced that his client is planning to file a civil lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department.
Statement from Sterling Brown
“My experience in January with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody. What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tased, and then unlawfully booked. This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.
Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community. Being a voice and a face for people who won’t be heard and don’t have the same platform as I have is a responsibility I take seriously. I am speaking for Dontre Hamilton of Milwaukee, Laquan McDonald of Chicago, Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Eric Garner of New York, and the list goes on. These people aren’t able to speak anymore because of unjust actions by those who are supposed to “serve and protect” the people.
The common denominator in all of these situations has been racism towards the minority community, the abuse of power, and the lack of accountability for officers involved. The lack of repercussions for the police officers involved in so many of these cases is offensive. This is a slap in the face to the victims’ families and communities.
Black men shouldn’t have to have their guard up and instantly be on the defensive when seeing a police officer, but it’s our reality and a real problem. There must be mutual respect and both sides have to figure out how to accomplish this.
There are no easy solutions to this problem, but there are strides that can be made to create change. I will do my part in helping to prevent similar incidents from happening to the minority community in the future.
This is bigger than me. My family, friends, legal team, Priority Sports, Milwaukee Bucks, the black community and the communities of all who stand against injustice plan to continue the fight. Peaceful support to ensure no further damage to our community is the only way to respond. I know many of you will share my anger and frustration, but for our community to progress and grow, we need to build on what we already have and not destroy it. I will take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department to continue forcing change in our community.”