By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Last month body camera videos depicting the incident involving Milwaukee Buck’s player Sterling Brown and officers from the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) were released. This past Tuesday, Brown filed a federal civil rights suit against the MPD and the city of Milwaukee.
Back in Jan., Brown was approached in a Walgreen’s parking lot by an officer regarding his parked car, which was illegally parked across two handicap spots. The incident became so much more when, instead of issuing a traffic citation to Brown, the officer called for backup. Several additional squad cars pulled up and Brown was tasered.
The original video, which showed the perspective of the initial officer on the scene, was released on the MPD’s YouTube page. However, soon after the MPD’s video, Brown’s lawyer released more footage from that night.
The additional footage depicted an officer stepping on Brown’s ankle, another one recognizing him as a Buck’s player and several making light of the situation through humor and blatant disregard for their actions.
In his original statement regarding the incident, Brown indicated he was planning on taking legal action and is currently suing the officers, police chief Alfonso Morales and the city for violating his rights with excessive force and wrongful arrest.
Brown’s lawsuit is 40 pages long and details what happened that night, and the actions taken by the officers both during and after.
It notes that in the video, Officer James Collins can be heard expressing the need to go on overtime.
However, shortly after Collins fell asleep for roughly ten minutes before entering the Walgreen’s to obtain the security camera footage.
Additionally, the suit shows evidence that Officer Erik Andrade, referenced the occurrence on Facebook.
“Nice meeting Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks at work this morning! Lol#FearTheDeer,” Andrade wrote.
He referenced it again when he said that when Cleveland Cavalier’s player J.R. Smith comes to Milwaukee he should double park in handicap spots in a Walgreen’s parking lot.
“This federal lawsuit reflects the fact that for too long in this city, African American men have been arrested, abused and as in the case of Dontre Hamilton killed,” said Brown’s lawyer, Mark Thomsen after officially filing the suit.
Thomsen stated that after being abused, Brown was left to lie on the concrete for twelve minutes. Pictures of Brown, show him with a gash on his cheek, several bruises and cuts, as well as the marks left from the taser.
“That work is a stain on this city and is an insult to every good decent officer in this city and in this county,” Thomsen said.
Thomsen stated that the suit is also against the city because the city lacks the policies which would prohibit this type of behavior and conduct. He also questioned if proper discipline took place given the reactions of the officers and the punishments.
“I’m hopeful this incident will be a turning point and allow us to take those actions necessary to improve police-community relations,” said Mayor Tom Barrett, in a statement regarding the suit.
Via Thomsen, Brown reiterated his desire that Milwaukee improves the relationship between residents and officers.