Video of police tasing Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown released

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Milwaukee police have released video of officers tasering NBA rookie Sterling Brown and confirmed that the officers involved have been disciplined.

The police department released body camera footage Wednesday evening that shows officers tasering Brown in an incident stemming from a January parking violation in a Walgreens drugstore parking lot.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference held Wednesday that the officers involved "acted inappropriately" and were "recently disciplined." Morales did not detail what that discipline entailed and did not answer reporters' questions.

"I am sorry this incident escalated to this level," Morales said.

In the body camera video, an officer waits alongside Brown's car which is parked horizontally across two handicap parking spots in a Walgreens parking lot shortly after 2 a.m. on January 26. Brown is seen exiting the store as the officer begins to question him about why he had parked in such a manner.

The officer repeatedly tells Brown to "back up," before telling him "I will do what I want, alright? I own this right here."

He accuses Brown of "being all badass with me" to which Brown replies "I ain't got no problem."

Other officers arrive on the scene and can be seen talking to Brown near his vehicle when one of the officers shouts for Brown to take his hands out of his pockets. A scuffle breaks out and an officer yells "Taser, taser, taser!" Brown can be heard moaning on the ground.

Brown's demeanor in the video appears to contradict the narrative in the police report which says Brown was "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 states, though the video shows Brown calmly talking with officers in the moments before he was tasered.

Brown was arrested on possible misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer, but after police reviewed the incident - including the body cam footage - they declined to refer the case to prosecutors for charges. Ultimately, the NBA player was cited for a parking violation.

Brown played in a game later that day with bruises on his face, but would say only that it was a "personal issue" when asked by reporters how he had been injured.

Brown, the son of a retired Illinois police officer, posted a statement on Twitter immediately after the video was released, pledging to take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department.

"Black men shouldn't have to have their guard up and instantly be on the defensive when seeing a police officer, but it is our reality and a real problem," Brown said in the statement.

His representatives have said Brown plans to file a civil lawsuit against Milwaukee PD next week.

Brown's team, the Milwaukee Bucks, issued a statement, calling the "abuse and intimidation" that Brown experienced "shameful and inexcusable."

"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 Bucks' statement read.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that police have prepared community leaders for possible backlash from the video's release, including showing it to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who called the video "disturbing."

Just a day before the body camera footage was released, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales released another video, promising to defend officers, but also admit when they make mistakes.

"If there is ever an incident when one of our members makes a mistake," Morales said in the video, "I"m going to be honest and transparent about it."

Morales took over as police chief in February, weeks after Brown's arrest.

Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett said in a press conference that the officers' behavior "has no place in our city."

"As a human I was offended by what I saw on the video," Barrett said.

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