Sterling Brown Payout Still Being Debated
Council committee meets for two hours, can't decide whether to accept the settlement.
The Judiciary & Legislation Committee spent over two hours in closed session Monday afternoon discussing a proposed settlement with Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown and an unrelated workforce discrimination case.
But after emerging, and without debate, the committee approved the unrelated workforce settlement, didn’t act on the Brown item and adjourned.
The Brown settlement was forwarded to the council on November 4th by independently-elected City Attorney Tearman Spencer. It calls for the city to 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. in January 2018. 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 the video 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 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.
The committee unanimously adopted an unrelated $11,500 settlement for Michelle Kinnard, a former Milwaukee Health Department employee who brought a case to the state Equal Rights Division and federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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Related Legislation: File 200980
- Rep. Brostoff Statement on Police Union Smears Against City Attorney Tearman Spencer - State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff - Nov 17th, 2020
- City Hall: Sterling Brown Payout Still Being Debated - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 17th, 2020
- City Hall: Bucks Player, City Reach $750,000 Settlement - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 9th, 2020
- Giannis Protest Mural Planned for Bay View Bar - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 2nd, 2020
- Court Watch: Police Officer Denies Stepping on Sterling Brown - Gretchen Schuldt - Feb 19th, 2020
- The Sterling Brown Case: More Details on Tasing of Bucks Player - Gretchen Schuldt - Nov 21st, 2019
- The Sterling Brown Case: ‘Could Have Been Dead People in Walgreens.’ - Gretchen Schuldt - Nov 11th, 2019
- City Attorney candidate Tearman Spencer releases statement on Sterling Brown case - Tearman Spencer - Oct 11th, 2019
- City Hall: Council Okays Settlement to Sterling Brown - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 4th, 2019
- City Attorney Shifts Blame to Sterling Brown - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Aug 29th, 2018
Read more about Sterling Brown Case here