At least six police vehicles were called for backup before officers used a taser to arrest a relatively unknown – and unarmed – NBA rookie over a simple parking violation in an empty drug store parking lot during the wee hours of the morning last week. If that doesn’t seem excessive enough, police used a Taser stun gun on Sterling Brown in part because he “allegedly double parked in two handicapped spaces” at a Walgreens, the local Fox station reported.
But once it was found out that the entire shameful episode went down in Milwaukee, it suddenly made a lot more sense. After all, Milwaukee, home to the NBA’s Bucks franchise, is also where you can find one of the most racist and corrupt police departments in America.
Brown is, of course, Black. Not only that, he’s 22, stands a full 6’6 and weighs 230 pounds, according to ESPN. His dreads didn’t help, either, as police probably took one look at Brown and decided he was going to be a threat regardless of what he had to say for himself once he saw them writing a ticket in the fateful parking lot.
But what may have been Brown’s biggest “offense” was not parking his car, but that the civil violation (read: not a crime) was committed with an expensive Mercedes Benz. When the Milwaukee police officers saw it was a large, young Black man who was the owner of a car many of them could never afford, the short fuses to their ticking, racist time bombs were probably lit with the quickest of equally fearful and envious flames.
Police said Brown “confronted them and became combative,” because what else are they going to say to justify using excessive force against an unarmed Black man who just so happens to be a player on the local NBA team who earns at least hundreds of thousands of dollars per year? The charge of resisting arrest, especially when used by a White officer against a Black suspect, can many times be translated as, “I was illogically scared so I had to use my weapons.”
The race(s) of the arresting officers was not immediately announced. But that almost doesn’t matter in Milwaukee, the most segregated city in the country where “more than half of all black men in their 30s and 40s have served time,” NPR reported.
It also can’t be ignored that David Clarke, the Black former Milwaukee County sheriff who has made a lucrative second career of hating Black people from the safety of the sunken place, once presided over the police department in question. It was unclear if the arresting officers are White, but Clarke’s disregard for Black life has been well documented – especially on Twitter – and he likely co-signed, if not instituted, the training that informed the decision to use the excessive force of a taser Friday morning.
And so it followed suit that the mayor of Milwaukee, Bucks fans and the NBA, which has been conspicuously silent, greeted the disturbing news of police violence against not just any old Black man but a professional basketball player with a collective shrug.
“My understanding is that no charges are going to be filed,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Sunday almost as an afterthought, seemingly failing to grasp the damning optics behind the police violence.
While Brown has been understandably quiet to avoid further negative attention, so too have local and national civil rights groups that have traditionally jumped at the chance to fight bogus charges filed against Black people by local police police departments.
Until then, the sentiment expressed by Bucks fan named Marco Alicea will prevail: “I’m pretty sure they’ll get over it and move on and play basketball.”