NBA player Sterling Brown reaches $750k settlement with city of Milwaukee over 2018 police tasing incident

Francis Akhalbey November 10, 2020
Sterling Brown has reached a $750k settlement with the City of Milwaukee -- Photo via @bucks Instagram

Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown has reached a $750,000 settlement with the City of Milwaukee after he filed a civil rights lawsuit following a 2018 encounter with the police which resulted in him being tased and aggressively arrested by officers.

According to ESPN, the settlement was an improvement of an initial $400,000 offer he rejected in 2019. Besides the money, Brown also wants the City of Milwaukee to issue a statement admitting a constitutional violation and pledging to implement changes at the Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedures within 180 days.

Speaking to the news outlet about the lawsuit in December, Brown said it wasn’t about the money for him.

“I’ve got plenty of people going through the same thing in Chicago and back at home,” he said. “So I know it’s happening in Milwaukee, so I’m pretty much being that voice for those who don’t have the platform that I have to make this national news.”

In a letter to the city’s Common Council requesting approval of the settlement on November 4, Milwaukee city attorney Tearman Spencer and assistant city attorney Robin A. Pederson wrote: “Because of the unpredictability of a trial, and the City’s risk for exposure to compensatory and punitive changes, as well as additional attorney fees and costs, we recommend that this matter be settled for that amount.”

The letter added: “Consistent with our recommendation, we request authorization to execute a settlement agreement on behalf of the City and its officer, and have enclosed an appropriated resolution for your consideration.”

The Milwaukee Bucks also released a statement on Monday following the announcement of the settlement:

We are pleased that Sterling’s lawsuit has been mutually resolved and that there’s been an important commitment by the City of Milwaukee and its Police Department to make changes to the MPD’s standard operating procedures. No one should ever have to go through the horrifying abuse and injustice that Sterling experienced.

We commend Sterling for his courageous response to this terrible situation by repeatedly sharing his story and working tirelessly with countless local groups and organizations to help make change in our community. And we also commend the City’s leadership for its commitment to implement these important changes to better Milwaukee.

What happened?

The January 2018 incident occurred when Brown was confronted by an officer outside a drugstore for a parking violation. Things escalated between the two and the officer – identified as Joseph Grams in the lawsuit – called for backup, CNN reported.

Per bodycam footage, several officers, upon arrival, approached Brown and questioned him. The 25-year-old, who had his hands in pockets during the encounter, was instructed by one of the officers to take his hands out, to which he replied and said he had “stuff” in them.

He was then jostled to the ground and tased. During the course of his arrest, one of the officers was also seen stepping on his ankle while the other officers made fun of him potentially filing a civil rights complaint in the aftermath of the incident. Some of the officers also switched off their bodycams at certain points.

The lawsuit alleged Brown was racially targeted and accused the officers of unlawful arrest, excessive use of force and violating the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, CNN reported. The officers were also accused of conspiring to hide what they did that night.

Two sergeants received 10 and 15-day respective suspensions without pay for “failing to be a role model for professional police service” in the aftermath of the incident, CNN reported. Another officer also received a two-day suspension for “failing to treat a member of the public with courtesy and professionalism”, while eight other officers were ordered to undertake remedial training in professional communications.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 10, 2020


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