Tuesday 16 October 2018

NBA star Sterling Brown sues police over stun gun arrest

Brown was not charged with anything and three officers were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

By Ivan Moreno

US basketball star Sterling Brown has filed a lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee and its police department, claiming unlawful arrest and excessive force after officers used a stun gun on him during his arrest for a parking violation.

Mark Thomsen, a lawyer for the Milwaukee Bucks player, filed the lawsuit in federal court.

Brown had been talking with officers while waiting for a citation for illegally parking in a disabled spot outside a store on January 26, when officers took him down because he did not immediately remove his hands from his pockets as ordered.

Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologised to the NBA star last month when body-camera video of the arrest was released.

Brown was not charged with anything and three officers were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days.

Eight other officers were ordered to undergo remedial training in professional communications.

Video of the confrontation shows an officer approached Brown at around 2am.

When their conversation becomes tense, the officer calls more squad cars for help and eventually eight officers are standing around Brown. One asks him to take his hands out of his pockets and a second or two later the scuffle begins. Almost immediately, an officer yells: “Taser! Taser! Taser!”

According to the lawsuit, one of the officers later took to Twitter to mock Brown, saying: “Nice meeting Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks at work this morning! Lol#FearTheDeer.”

Police only released the body camera video of the first officer who contacted Brown, but additional body camera and patrol car videos, obtained by WISN-TV, showed the moments after officers used a stun gun on Brown.

In one, he is on the ground and handcuffed when an officer puts one of his boots on Brown’s ankle, holding it there. Brown does not mention being in any discomfort but he questions the officer’s actions.

“Come on, man, you’re stepping on my ankle for what?” Brown says. In response, the officer says he is trying to prevent Brown from kicking anyone.

Other videos obtained by WISN-TV show an officer talking with two colleagues seated in a patrol car. They talk about how they could be perceived as racist for arresting a black player, with one saying if anything goes wrong, it “is going to be, ‘Ooh, the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist, blah, blah, blah'”.

Brown told the Journal Sentinel in an interview last month that he “gave in” when police used a stun gun and that he did not do anything to resist because he did not want officers to “pull out their guns”.

“I was just being smart. I just wanted to get out of the situation and get home,” he said.

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