On May 23, the Milwaukee Police released a video arresting Bucks guard Sterling Brown for a parking violation that took place on January 26. Moments after the confrontation, the bodycam video shows Brown falling, after police officers brought him down. Brown is heard moaning in pain after being tased while on the ground.
According to The Washington Post, Sterling Brown was arrested around 2 a.m. in a parking lot when an officer saw his vehicle parked illegally in two disabled driver parking spots. Brown, 22 at the time, had his hands in his pockets. After an officer yelled at him to take them out, they resorted to physical action.
"Tase him! Tase him! Tase him!"@MilwaukeePolice release bodycam video showing January arrest of Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown during a confrontation in a Walgreens parking lot. https://t.co/4R7aQzOtlV pic.twitter.com/xrpQUkfwov
— WISN 12 NEWS (@WISN12News) May 23, 2018
Near the end of the video, Brown and the officers talked with each other for some time, standing. After the officer said that he did not recognize Brown’s name, Brown responded, “You could have talked. You didn’t have to touch. You initiated.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement that he disapproves of what he saw in the “disturbing” video, as he held a press conference on Wednesday evening after the incident.
“As a human being, I am offended by what I saw on the video,” Barrett said. “As Mayor, I am committed to improving police-community relations. Mr. Brown deserves an apology and I’m very sorry the Milwaukee Police treated him in the fashion he was treated in.”
Mayor Barrett continued to say that mutual human respect between the police and the community is essential, stating that “It has to be a two-way street.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett condemns police treatment of Bucks player Sterling Brown. "I am offended by what I saw. … No citizen should be treated this way." https://t.co/3Lqk4IGXDu pic.twitter.com/dZCb3YlQw8
— ABC News (@ABC) May 24, 2018
In a statement from Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, the officers involved acted “inappropriately” and were “recently disciplined” for their actions. Morales also said that criminal charges against Brown were not pursued.
“I am sorry this incident escalated to this level,” Morales said. “…When I took office, I vowed to rebuild trust between the Milwaukee Police Department and the community. We are doing that.”
After the release on the video, Sterling Brown released his own statement, putting the blame on the Milwaukee Police Department. He said these types of stories happen all too often in the black community and is something that he takes seriously given his platform.
“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,” Brown said.
“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. …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.”
Brown went on to say that there are no easy solutions to this ongoing problem and that change must be made. The Bucks Organization chimed in as well by saying they have Brown’s entire support.
“It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment. …The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us,” the Bucks Organization said.
The bodycam video went viral on social media and has gained national, widespread attention as a result. Struggles between the police and minority communities continue to be addressed on a national level.