The violent arrest of Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown has turned public attention to the city’s police department, which has a lengthy history of racism.
Body camera video of Brown’s January arrest was released by the Milwaukee Police Department Wednesday, showing officers’ unwarranted use of a stun gun on the NBA player. Police questioned Brown after seeing his vehicle parked across two disability spaces in a Walgreens store parking lot. A physical confrontation ensued as officers questioned Brown about the parking violation, ending with cops wrestling him to the ground before using a taser and handcuffing him.
“My experience in January with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody,” Brown, who plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against police, wrote in a statement. “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. ”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said their arrest investigation had concluded with “disciplining” the involved officers., However, what specific discipline or how many officers were punished was unknown. Whether the department plans to make changes after this incident was also a big question, especially since this is the same department that was associated with former Milwaukee County sheriff and controversial Trump surrogate David Clarke before his resignation last August.
The department also has an alarming pattern of racism: Milwaukee police conduct more than three times the number of stops in primarily Black and Latino districts as in white districts, according to a study by the University Of Pennsylvania Law School Professor and Ph.D David Abrams published by the ACLU of Wisconsin in February. Black and Latino drivers there are more likely to be stopped and are more likely to be searched than white people.
Milwaukee’s Black community members have protested for decades against police officers’ unfair, racist treatment, which was substantiated by the study, Urban Milwaukee reported. Protests grew when Dontre Hamilton, a Black man, was killed by officer Christopher Manney, who shot him 14 times on a park bench in 2014. The Justice Department didn’t charge Manney, who was only fired.
Also, the use of body cameras worn by Milwaukee officers has not reduced use-of-force incidents, according to a recently published Urban Institute study. Officers used force at roughly the same rates after they began testing cameras in 2013.