Horrifying footage has emerged of the moment a young NBA star was tased after being confronted over a parking violation in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee police released the video on Thursday morning (AEST) of a January arrest and use of a taser on Bucks guard Sterling Brown.
Footage shows an officer approaching Brown’s Mercedes and initiating a verbal confrontation with Brown.
“Back up. Back up,” the officer tells Brown, who is standing calmly in front of him. “Are you obstructing me? I just told you to back up. That’s right, I told you to back up. Cause you’re going to try and get into the car. I’ll do what I want, all right? I own this right here.”
Police chief Alfonso Morales held a news conference where he read from a statement, but refused to take questions from the media.
“During the encounter, Mr. Brown was decentralised, tased and arrested,” Morales said.
“The department conducted an investigation into the incident which revealed members acted inappropriately, and those members were recently disciplined.”
Morales did not explain what the discipline entailed, nor did he identify the officers involved. Captain Steven Caballero told reporters that police will be releasing the officers’ information “once all statutory requirements have been met.”
Both officers then walked away from the podium as reporters asked questions.
Brown released a statement shortly after the release of the video. He intends to file a lawsuit against the Milwaukee police department.
From the statement, which can be read in whole here:
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. … 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.
The Bucks responded as well with a statement of support for Brown.
The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.
Why was Sterling Brown arrested?
Police came across Brown’s car parked across two disability parking spots during an early-morning business check at a Walgreens on January 26. Police Sgt. Tim Gaurke gave the police account of what happened to Yahoo Sports in a statement shortly after the incident.
“Milwaukee Police were conducting a business check around 2:00 a.m. on January 26th at Walgreens located at S. 26th Street and W. National Avenue when they encountered a vehicle parked across two disability parking spaces. Officers spoke with a 22-year-old male and during the incident an electronic control device was deployed and the man was arrested. The circumstances of the incident and the use of force are currently being reviewed by the Department.”
Brown was arrested for resisting or obstructing an officer. After internal review that included watching the body camera footage, the incident did not result in any charges pressed against Brown. He was cited for a parking violation, a police spokesman said shortly after the arrest.
Gaurke told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at the time that the department was reviewing the initial police response and supervisory oversight and that the matter had been sent to Internal Affairs.
The video showing Bucks guard Sterling Brown's arrest was released during a news conference on the topic.
— WISN 12 NEWS (@WISN12News) May 23, 2018
Milwaukee officials braced for backlash prior to release of video
Multiple city officials who saw the video prior to its release voiced public concern about the incident as the police department braced for backlash.
Mayor Tom Barrett spoke about the video in a Monday news conference and noted that police chief Alfonso Morales shared his concerns about the arrest.
“I’m going to let the release of that speak for itself, but yes, I definitely have concerns after watching that video.”
Assistant police chief Michael Brunson pleaded with a Milwaukee church congregation on Sunday to support the department in anticipation of backlash from the video.
Per WITI-TV in Milwaukee:
“There’s going to be a video that’s going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department, and I’m going to honest with you, we’re going to need your support during the challenges.”
An anonymous source who had seen the video told the Journal-Sentinel that the use of force appeared unnecessary.
“This could be bad. The player doesn’t appear to be provocative at all.”
Sterling Brown planning a lawsuit vs. Milwaukee police
Brown’s attorneys told Journal-Sentinel on Tuesday that he plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee police department.
Brown, a 22-year-old, 6-5 shooting guard, averaged four points and 2.6 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game through 54 games this season. The Philadelphia 76ers drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft before trading him to the Bucks.