Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown says he felt “pretty much defenseless” during a controversial arrest over a parking infraction in January.
Speaking to “Good Morning America” on Friday, Brown said he gets angry every time he watches body-cam video of the arrest, which the police released to the public on Wednesday.
“I get mad every time I watch it, you know, because I was defenseless, pretty much,” said Brown.
In the video, Brown is seen surrounded by several officers outside his car. He is told by an officer to take his hands out of his pockets, and when he doesn’t immediately, the officers wrestle him to the ground and tase him.
A handful of squad cars were at the scene by the end of the situation, which began with Brown calmly cooperating with the first officer to approach him.
“I am sorry this incident escalated to this level,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said in a statement. Morales did not take questions from reporters in attendance.
Morales said the officers “acted inappropriately” and have been disciplined following an internal investigation into the incident. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported that three officers were suspended between 2-15 days.
Brown plans to file a lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department as a result of the incident, he said as part of a lengthy statement he released Wednesday.
“My experience in January with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody,” Brown said. “What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tased, and then unlawfully booked. This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.
“Situations like mine and worse happen every day in the black community,” the statement continued, in part. “... The common denominator in all of these situations has been racism towards the minority community, the abuse of power, and the lack of accountability for officers involved. The lack of repercussions for the police officers involved in so many of these cases is offensive. This is a slap in the face to the victims’ families and communities.
“This is bigger than me. My family, friends, legal team, Priority Sports, Milwaukee Bucks, the black community and the communities of all who stand against injustice plan to continue the fight. Peaceful support to ensure no further damage to our community is the only way to respond. I know many of you will share my anger and frustration, but for our community to progress and grow, we need to build on what we already have and not destroy it. I will take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department to continue forcing change in our community.”
The Bucks also released a statement supporting Brown: “The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. 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.
“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. There needs to be more accountability.”
—Field Level Media