Wisconsin Public Radio

Brown Files Suit Against Milwaukee Police

Bucks player files federal civil rights suit, claiming wrongful arrest and excessive force.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jun 19th, 2018 12:55 pm
Body Worn Camera Video Release of Sterling Brown Arrest

Body Worn Camera Video Release of Sterling Brown Arrest

Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and the city, claiming wrongful arrest and excessive force during an altercation with police Jan. 26 at a drug store.

The Milwaukee Bucks player was stopped by an officer in January for what started as a parking violation.

Brown, who was parked across two handicap parking spots outside a Walgreens at West National Avenue and South 26th Street, was surrounded by a handful of officers and Tased during the interaction caught on police body cameras.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found officer reports said Brown was aggressive, but released footage shows Brown cooperating.

Three officers have been suspended and another eight are required to go through retraining.

The incident has sparked outrage in the city and garnered national attention.

The Milwaukee Common Council, state representatives and Gov. Scott Walker have weighed in on the case.

In May, Brown went on Good Morning America and said he hoped the lawsuit he planned on filing would bring about real change in Milwaukee policing.

At least one alderman has said the city can’t afford to pay out another lawsuit of this kind.

The police department is under new leadership after Police Chief Ed Flynn retired in February. Flynn held the post for a decade. Alfonso Morales now heads the department and has promised more community policing and pledged transparency in the department.

Still, Morales has been criticized by how the department handled the fallout of Brown’s arrest and the speed in which the investigation took place.

Brown’s attorney, Mark Thomsen, is expected to speak with reporters Tuesday morning in front of Milwaukee City Hall.

Sterling Brown Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Milwaukee Police was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

13 thoughts on “Brown Files Suit Against Milwaukee Police”

  1. PMD says:

    Lots of disturbing details in the lawsuit. The police just look worse and worse every time there is new information released. At least one of the officers is racist, and they all treat him like garbage from the second the first officer arrives on the scene. After the incident they joke about it with each other and on social media. Just embarrassing and shameful behavior from these officers.

  2. Aggie says:

    Being a police officer is an incredibly difficult job, but until departments actually hold bad officers (several in this case) responsible, the public will never give them the credit/respect they are due. I would sure hate for my profession to be judged only by the worst actors in it… You would think that even the unions wouldn’t want idiots like this to be representative of their organization…SAD

  3. Mike says:

    “The media is trying to make us believe the extremities among us are the norms.”

    Dave Chappelle

  4. PMD says:

    Fox News and its ilk sure are Mike. I agree.

  5. Debra Apple says:

    I would sure hate for my profession to be judged only by the worst actors in it.

  6. PMD says:

    Except every day I read a cop or ex-cop defending every bad thing cops do so apparently police officers see nothing wrong here and that’s a problem.

  7. MKE Kid says:

    Retired cop here.

    Debra: Especially when most people get their “knowledge” of the profession from highly inaccurate and cheesy TV shows and non factual content on the internet. I don’t publicly criticize bankers, accountants, chefs, Navy Seals, etc., etc. because I know little or nothing about those professions other than what I’ve seen via mostly fictional media.

    I don’t know if MPD still offers their Citizen’s Academy. Joel McNally, the liberal former columnist from the Milwaukee Journal and frequent critic of MPD, said he really gained a surprising amount of knowledge after attending the Academy which changed many of his views and opinions of police work and MPD. He was mature enough to admit he was ignorant of so much. Mr. McNally still is writing a column for The Shepherd Express which I enjoy and almost always agree with.

    I fault the media and entertainment industries with presenting very inaccurate representations of police work. But then I guess showing cops spending hours upon hours writing reports or trying to stay awake in court for hours after putting in a busy 12 hour shift overnight wouldn’t be very good for ratings.

    I also fault those idiot cops that conduct themselves like arrogant immature adolescents on the job. I’ve known more than a few of those, including supervisors who laugh at their antics and condone their unprofessional conduct. They ruin it for the majority of cops who really do care about the communities they serve and just want to make it home alive to their families at the end of their shift.

  8. PMD says:

    It doesn’t help that bad cops are never held accountable and cops always stick up for the bad ones. Blaming the media is a bit much. Most people can separate fact from fiction. Unless you’re saying most people are stupid. Poor training sure seems to play a part. Not to mention a whole lot of cops are racist. It’s not like the 6 or 8 bad cops in the Brown incident are anomalies.

  9. MKE Kid says:

    PMD: Cops do not “always stick up for the bad ones.” I was ostracized more than a couple of times by saying something and following through with supervisors. I also went to the union after responding traffic officers to a traffic accident did not follow rules and regs and SOPs to the detriment of the accident victim. I was “asked,” Do you REALLY want to file a complaint against a union brother?” I took the hint.

    For those willing to gain knowledge to better understand police work and procedures and facilitate better communication and understanding, this is from the MPD website:

    “Citizens Academy
    The Milwaukee Police Citizen Academy is a five-week program designed to provide citizens with a working knowledge of the Milwaukee Police Department. It consists of a series of classes held once a week for three hours. The instruction will include classroom academics and practical applications in law, police procedure, defense and arrest tactics, firearms training, and state of art technology used to combat crime. Tours of various police facilities and demonstrations of equipment will also be conducted. Attendees may participate in a ride-along with officers.

    This program will provide citizens an opportunity to ask questions about police services and to express their concerns about quality of life issues. Upon conclusion, citizens completing 80% of the course will participate in a graduation ceremony.”

    Scientia potentia est.

  10. PMD says:

    I come from a law enforcement family and one of my relatives is one of the officers involved in the Brown incident. I understand police work fine. I also don’t think there are no good officers. But clearly MPD has systemic problems. It is not merely a few bad apples.

  11. MKE Kid says:

    PMD: Glad to hear you have background with MPD. So you know that, simply put, if a person is an ahole, they will be a ahole on the job. (Tempted to use much stronger language here.) I worked with the Jude cops, so am very familiar with aholes and the way they are subtly encouraged to be aholes by having supervisors chuckle and look the other way. “Boys will be boys.” It was a breath of fresh air when those aholes were gone. There were a couple that were marginally involved and this incident was a wake up call for them. They did change their ways. Others that were contributors, but were not charged, were shuffled around within the department. That will be worth a chapter or two in my book.

    No amount of training is going to change what kind of a person somebody is. Departments continually put officers through all sorts of training just to cover their butts. If something hits the fan, the department will say, well, we provided the training and the officer failed to follow their training, so we’re not at fault. This is not entirely true, but you already know that. That’s why the Devil invented attorneys.

    Urban LE is very different from suburban and rural LE. I have done both. Urban departments have to deal with a LOT more, both internally and externally. I’ve traveled around the US attending LE seminars and it’s humorous listening to cops from little burgs retelling the same “cop stories” about the ONE time they arrested a murder suspect a decade ago and got accolades, awards, and some trophy or medal from their community. They’re treated like heroes. Urban cops arrest dozens of violent homicide suspects every week and it’s just another day.

    Corruption with bigger departments has been a problem forever. I’m a Milwaukee history buff, so know how the government of Milwaukee, both good and rotten, is intertwined with its police department. I’m old enough to remember the Breier years. Talk about outright police ABUSE and corruption. I had friends on both sides. I’ve heard about things the public never knew of. Cops openly laughing about beating the crap out of somebody and leaving them in a gutter just because of they way they looked and the cops were bored &/or drunk. Thankfully, most is being recorded nowadays.

    Also have to remember that larger departments are hurting for bodies, so many times the standards are not what they should be. So much flies under the radar just because of the sheer volume that has to be dealt with.

    There have been significant improvements, but there always definitely will be a need for more. We’re dealing with people, not robots, so the problems will never be solved. I call it pissing on nonstop brush fires.

    In conclusion, MPD is not the only local LE department with issues. Their leader recently slid away, not into the sunset, but under cover of darkness, to take on some other undisclosed position under shadowy circumstances. Maybe he’s still flapping his gums somewhere. The less I know, the better. I was friends with deputies, so got plenty of earfuls for a couple of decades. Also have read old departmental records (i.e., substantial infractions and meted out disciplines) regarding this “leader.” But that’s another chapter.

  12. PMD says:

    You seem like a smart, thoughtful person MKE Kid and I really enjoy your posts. Thanks for engaging.

  13. MKE Kid says:

    PMD: Thanks much. Same here.
    A cop’s greatest asset and his greatest liability is his mouth.
    I was always accused of “being too nice” to people and “taking too much time talking to people” while with MPD. I was told I never needed a partner because I was able to take care of myself. Oh, so if you’re a f***up, you get a partner?
    I’d love to have a brewski or two with you and shoot the breeze. I’ll make sure my book gets advertised in MKE. 😉

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