Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Bucks Player, City Reach $750,000 Settlement

City admits police violated Sterling Brown's constitutional rights in notorious incident.

By - Nov 9th, 2020 10:52 am
Body Worn Camera Video Release of Sterling Brown Arrest

Police Body Camera Video of Sterling Brown Arrest

Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown has reached a settlement agreement with the City of Milwaukee regarding his January 2018 encounter with the Milwaukee Police Department that generated national attention and widespread condemnation. The city will pay Brown $750,000, admit a constitutional violation of Brown’s rights and commit to update MPD standard operating procedures within 180 days.

Brown, an African American, was observed having parked across handicapped spaces outside of a Walgreens at S. 27th St. and W. National Ave. at 2 a.m. A responding officer called for backup within moments of arriving on the scene, which escalated to Brown being tased and thrown to the ground.

Brown, 25, was never charged and body camera footage shows officers being confrontational with Brown from the outset of the interaction.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized for the department’s actions in May 2018 after body camera footage of the incident was released. Morales took over the department in February 2018, but was demoted and retired in August. “The department conducted an investigation into the incident, which revealed members acted inappropriately and those members were recently disciplined,” said the then-chief. One of the issues cited in Morales’ demotion was his handling of Brown’s case.

Milwaukee police officer Erik Andrade was fired after he posted racially charged remarks on social media about Brown following the incident.

Brown’s attorney Mark Thomsen previously said that getting the city to admit it violated his client’s rights was an important part of any settlement. The city offered a $400,000 settlement in 2019, but it was viewed as unlikely to be accepted and publicly declared as part of a legal strategy to protect the city against claims for attorney’s fees should the case go to court.

Brown had sued the city in federal court over the matter.

The settlement agreement, submitted for review last week, includes attorney’s fees and costs. Negotiated by the independent City Attorney, it still requires Common Council approval.

A letter introducing the settlement agreement was submitted to the council by City Attorney Tearman Spencer and assistant city attorney Robin A. Pederson.

The city would pay for the settlement with new borrowing. The measure would follow a $4 million settlement approved Tuesday for the family of Sylville Smith who was killed by an MPD officer near Sherman Park in 2016. That settlement is expected to cost the city $480,000 per year over 10 years.

The city has paid over $20 million in police misconduct lawsuits since 2015. That total grows by several million when borrowing costs are included.

Brown was a highly-visible participant in the team’s participation in racial justice protest marches this summer.

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Related Legislation: File 200980

2 thoughts on “City Hall: Bucks Player, City Reach $750,000 Settlement”

  1. Ron Hockersmith says:

    Any reports of what Sterling Brown plans to do with the settlement? Specifically, does he plan to donate it to community efforts?

  2. dk mke says:

    That money should come from police pension, or even police salaries across the board.

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