By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
On a Friday back in January, specifically January 26, Sterling Brown, a player for the Milwaukee Bucks, exited a Walgreen’s and encountered some Milwaukee Police Officers. This past Wednesday, May 23, the Milwaukee Police Department released the video from the body cameras worn by the officers involved in the event.
What should’ve been a simple ticket for a parking violation became so much more when the officers decided to taser Brown instead of citing him for disorderly conduct.
The video which is 30 minutes long, can be found on the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) YouTube page: MilwaukeePolice. It starts with Brown being approached by an officer, who requests to see his license and quickly turned volatile as the officers become increasingly agitated.
In the video, the officer can be heard telling Brown that he is waiting for his partner to arrive before they make any decisions. A few minutes later, several additional police cars appear on the scene, again, the scene being a parking violation in a Walgreen’s parking lot.
By the time it’s eight minutes in, Sterling, who has been compliant, is surrounded by multiple officers, tackled to the ground and tasered following the commands of one officer yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!”
In a statement released by Brown, he addresses the overlying treatment of black men by police officers in the nation, and his hope that by telling his story further injustices can be prevented.
“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,” Brown wrote in his statement.
He also added that while there isn’t an easy solution to solve these issues, there can be steps made in the right direction to build a better relationship between police officers and the black community. Brown is planning on taking legal actions against the officers involved in the incident.
In a separate statement, the Milwaukee Bucks offered their support of Sterling and likewise called for there to be more accountability.
“We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored,” the statement read.
The day prior to the MPD releasing this video, they released another video on their page titled Message to the Community from MPD Chief Alfonso Morales. In it, Morales expresses his desire to rebuild the trust between Milwaukee residents and the police.
“I will also defend our officers when they are right and will admit when members of our organization are wrong,” Morales states. “So, if there is ever an incident where one of our members makes a mistake, unnecessarily escalating a situation, I’m going to be honest, and transparent about it.”
At the press conference held surrounding the video’s release, Morales said that an investigation was conducted regarding the incident and the officers involved. As a result, it was determined that they acted inappropriately and were disciplined for their actions. Although the discipline taken was not specified, it is expected to be on file in the coming days or weeks.
“I’m sorry the incident escalated to this level,” he said and added that the criminal charges against Brown were dropped.
Mayor Tom Barret also held a press conference addressing the video’s contents. In his statement he said that part of his duties is improving community and police relations, adding that it must get better.
“As the mayor of this city I need this to be a city, in fact, we all need this to be a city where our residents can work with and respect our police officers,” Barrett said. “We also need this to be a city where our police officers can work with and respect our residents.” Adding, “It has to be a two-way street.”