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Milwaukee Council Agrees $ 750,000 Settlement with Sterling Brown for Forced Arrest

Milwaukee City Council on Tuesday approved a $ 750,000 settlement with NBA player Sterling Brown for a 2018 arrest in which Brown was murdered and beaten to the ground by several officers after using a disabled parking space in a Walgreens parking lot.

Brown, who was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, parked his Mercedes sedan at two locations in the drugstore on January 26, 2018. An officer claimed Brown hobbled him and put himself in his “grill,” but the video of the meeting failed. to substantiate the allegations that the athlete approached the officer.

As part of the deal, the city will adopt a number of police reforms, including a new disciplinary matrix and “implement the MPD’s adoption of an anti-racism policy”. The officer who first contacted Brown, who was not named in the settlement documents, will also be reassigned from his patrol duties.

The council voted 14-0 to the deal on Tuesday, according to the city’s website.

Brown said that while he was delighted the deal had been approved, he was keen to see how to ensure accountability for social justice.

“We have a lot of work to do, and I can’t be complacent and relax because there was a settlement that could be approved,” Brown said. “It’s going to have a big impact but … how do we continue to make sure these things are applied.” How can we continue to make, you know, progress and progress in the areas where we still need help? “

The settlement is not the “end for all,” but it is a first step, said Brown, who has fought to ensure that anti-racist police training is part of the deal.

“We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re in a settlement and we need video footage… we want to be able to prevent it,” Brown said. “We want to be able to face things head on before it even happens and allow ourselves … to allow the citizens of the community to be at peace when they enter their neighborhood.”

The initial officer called for reinforcements, and when others arrived they questioned Brown and ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets before fighting him to the ground and piling up, according to a video posted in 2018. An officer was heard shouting “Taser”. ! Taser! Taser! as Brown moaned.

“You are walking on my ankle, for what?” Brown said.

“So you don’t kick us,” replied the policeman.

“I got no reason to kick you, man,” Brown said.

Brown had bruises on his face and back.

Officers could be heard discussing Brown’s arrest in body camera footage released by police, with one claiming that if Brown files a complaint it will be a “media firestorm” because of his behavior. celebrity.

“And then any little thing that’s wrong is going to be, ‘Ohhh, the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist, blah, blah, blah,'” the officer continued.

Sterling Brown during a Milwaukee Bucks game in 2020.Morry Gash / AP File

The settlement also includes a formal apology to Brown of the city and the Milwaukee Police Department, according to a statement approved in the city’s settlement motion. The city and the department admit “that the incident has escalated unnecessarily and despite Mr. Brown’s calm demeanor,” the statement said.

Brown published an essay in The Player’s Tribune last year discussing his decision to reject an initial $ 400,000 settlement offer from the city.

“I want more than money,” he wrote. “I want cops to show respect and be held accountable when they step out of line, especially in the neighborhoods they are supposed to serve and protect every day.”

Marc Thomsen, Brown’s attorney, said his client had always focused on more than one dollar amount. The approved regulation is broad in its language around the use of force, body cameras and training, Thomsen said.

“For example, in the case of Mr. Brown, one of the sergeants involved actually said that Mr. Brown had a gun in the backseat of his car. Now he’s lied to internal affairs, ”said Thomsen. “Part of these changes say they are going to be sanctioned for violating civil rights. You are going to be punished for lying … you will have your body cameras on at all times. “

The settlement comes after a year of heightened awareness and control over police use of force against blacks across the country.

The Milwaukee Bucks sparked a protest that spread to several professional sports organizations after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man paralyzed after being shot repeatedly by a Kenosha police officer in August.

The team refused to take the court in a playoff game that month, forcing other NBA competitions to be delayed. Athletes who play professional tennis, baseball and football have also followed suit, refusing to play in protest of police brutality.

Brown, who signed with the Rockets soon after, said he didn’t take his platform lightly.

“We were able to make a lot of noise and warn people,” he said. We have “a lot of power in the platform, and we have to start empowering people, and we have to start doing what we can do to make sure that … people don’t just let themselves go easy. happens, and after a while it’s like … it never happened. You know everyone goes back to their normal daily lives. “

Approval of the settlement is not the end of the social justice fight for Brown, who said he will continue to work in Milwaukee and work to raise others with his foundation, SALUTE, which stands focuses on education and resources for underserved communities.

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