Moments after police body-camera video of his arrest was released Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown said his experience with the city’s police department was “wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody,” and he went on to criticize officers sharply for “a simple parking ticket” that turned into “an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force.”
Milwaukee Police Chief #Alfonso Morales said in a brief statement that officers had been disciplined for acting “inappropriately” when they “decentralized, tased and arrested” Brown. At a news conference later in Wednesday evening, Mayor Tom Barrett subsequently declined to specify the nature of the discipline, but he said, “As a human being, I am offended by what I saw on the video. … Mr. Brown deserves an apology and I’m very sorry the Milwaukee police treated him in the fashion he was treated in.”
The city had been bracing for release of the video, which Barrett had warned was “disconcerting” and “disturbing.” Brown, 23, was tased during a routine parking violation in January and reportedly plans to file a civil rights lawsuit over the episode.
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard was arrested around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26, when an officer doing a business check at a Walgreens spotted a vehicle parked across two parking spots reserved for disabled drivers, Milwaukee police Sgt. Timothy Gauerke told the Journal Sentinel. Brown was initially arrested on a possible misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer, but police officials did not refer the case to prosecutors after an internal review that included viewing the body camera footage. A police spokesman told the Journal Sentinel at the time that Brown, then 22, had been cited for a parking violation. Speaking with reporters before the Bucks’ game later that day, Brown’s face appeared bruised and scratched, according to the paper, with Brown calling it “a personal issue.”
The body-camera footage shows an officer asking Brown, who is outside the store, to produce his license. The discussion between the officer and the player quickly takes on a testy nature, with the officer saying, “These are simple questions, and you’re being all bad-a– to me.”
Moments later, several more police cars arrive, some with lights flashing. The officer tells Brown that they are waiting for his partner, adding, “You had time to park across two lanes here, so we’re going to wait a little longer.”
As the body camera shows numerous patrol cars pulling up, the officer says, “I just wanted one.” He speaks with a couple of other policemen, telling one, “Have a nice night,” before returning to Brown, who is shown speaking with other officers and appearing frustrated, saying, “I’m just asking you a question.”
An officer can be heard shortly thereafter yelling at Brown, “Take your hands out of your pockets, now!” He says that he has “stuff” in his pockets as several officers close in and take him to the ground, at which point one shouts, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” Brown can then be heard groaning as handcuffs are placed on him