What to Know
- Milwaukee Buck Sterling Brown was arrested and tasered by local police in January for not immediately taking his hands out of his pockets
- Newly released video shows that the officers were joking about the incident afterwards, and talked about being seen as racist
- The video also shows an officer standing on his ankle while he was cuffed on the ground. Three officers have been disciplined.
Police joked and talked about being perceived as racist after using a stun gun to arrest Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown, newly released video shows.
The body camera and squad car videos, obtained by WISN-TV and posted online Sunday, reveals police joking about the arrest and discussing how, if Brown made a complaint, people might say they were racist.
Milwaukee police officers swarmed Brown in January when he didn't immediately take his hands out of his pockets as ordered. Brown had been standing and talking with a group of officers as he waited for a citation for illegally parking on a disabled spot outside a Walgreens.
He was tasered and a police officer stood on his ankle while he was handcuffed, the new video shows.
Afterwards, as Brown is taken to hospital, the cops are caught on video talking about the potential repercussions of their actions.
Officer 1: "We're trying to protect ourselves?"
Officer 2: "I'll give you the Bucks player."
Officer 1: "Because he play's for the Bucks, if he makes a [expletive] complaint it's going to be a [expletive] media firestorm."
Officer 2: "Oh yeah."
Officer 1: "And then any little [expletive] thing that goes wrong is going to be, 'Ohhh the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist, blah, blah, blah.'"
Later on the officers are heard talking about how they could be perceived as racist for arresting a black Bucks player, with one saying if anything goes wrong, it "is going to be, 'Ooh, the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist, blah, blah, blah.'"
Another video shows an officer in his squad car, calling to let a supervisor know he'll need to be on overtime before singing, "Money, money, money, money, money."
Brown wasn't charged with anything and three officers involved in the arrest were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days. Eight others will undergo remedial training in professional communications. Brown has said he plans to sue the department.
In a statement Monday, Chris Ott, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, said his organization was "outraged" that the officers "were focused on planning damage control for their excessive use of force, instead of treating Mr. Brown with the dignity and professionalism that everyone — whether a Bucks player or not — deserves from the police."
Milwaukee police Chief Alfonso Morales has apologized to Brown and on May 23 released body camera footage of the officer who initially contacted the basketball player outside the store.
The incident happened a month before Morales was appointed chief, following the retirement of Edward Flynn. Since becoming chief, Morales has pledged to improve the Police Department's relationship with minorities and to be more transparent with cases of officer misconduct.
Morales said Monday that raw video footage from all body cameras was released solely to Brown's attorneys last week. Additional videos will be released to those filing public records requests once statutory requirements have been reached, Morales said in a statement.