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Milwaukee Basketball Player Expected To Sue Police After Being Hit With Stun Gun


Milwaukee Police have just released body camera footage from a confrontation last January between an NBA player and a group of officers. The footage shows Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown being surrounded by a number of officers in a Walgreens parking lot over a possible parking violation. They ask him to take his hands out of his pockets and proceed to tase him. Maayan Silver of member station WUWM in Milwaukee reports.

MAAYAN SILVER, BYLINE: I'm standing in a parking lot of a 24-hour Walgreens on Milwaukee's near southside. It was here in January around 2 a.m. that police on patrol saw a gray Mercedes straddling two handicapped spots. The car belonged to Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown. Officers went up to Brown and at some point used a Taser on him. And it was all captured on body camera.

JAMAAL SMITH: We continuously see this criminalization of people of color and most notably black people.

SILVER: That's Jamaal Smith, who works in community engagement for the YWCA here.

SMITH: Sterling Brown being a Bucks player is probably what brought about the sense of urgency. But black people in Milwaukee can tell you all the time. This is common response that we get in our communities.

SILVER: After the incident, police quickly released Brown with only a parking citation. He released a statement tonight saying what happened to him was, quote, "wrong and shouldn't happen to anybody." City leaders, including Mayor Tom Barrett, are raising concerns about what the footage shows. Several aldermen are calling for a swift and thorough response from police. Milwaukee's police chief briefly addressed the media this afternoon, saying that officers have been disciplined for their role in the incident and saying it's an outlier.


ALFONSO MORALES: The men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department are dedicated to protecting and serving the citizens of Milwaukee. Understand that we have hundreds of interactions with citizens each day, and those contacts end positively.

SILVER: The police department has long had a troubled relationship with Milwaukee's minority community. While Chief Morales says efforts to improve the relationship are a priority, the video's release will likely make that more challenging. For NPR News, I'm Maayan Silver in Milwaukee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: May 22, 2018 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous headline and Web introduction to this story incorrectly said that NBA player Sterling Brown had filed suit against the Milwaukee Police Department. Brown is expected to file suit, but has not done so yet.
Maayan Silver is an intern with WUWM's Lake Effect program. She is a practicing criminal defense attorney, NPR listener and student of journalism and radio production.