From [HERE] Milwaukee police officers have testified under oath in a lawsuit from Bucks player Sterling Brown that they violated his civil rights when they used a stun gun to arrest him over a parking violation last year, Brown’s attorney said Friday.
The comments from attorney Mark Thomsen came in response to a report from The Journal Sentinel saying the city’s attorneys want to offer Brown $400,000 to settle the lawsuit he filed accusing police of excessive force and targeting him because he’s black.
The Common Council had scheduled a vote on the proposed settlement on June 10.
Talking to reporters in front of City Hall, Thomsen appeared irked at the offer and the fact that he found out about it while deposing a police sergeant “who admitted under oath that he failed to protect Mr. Brown’s safety.”
“Several officers have admitted to violating Mr. Brown’s constitutional rights,” he said, referring to the depositions he’s taken for the lawsuit.
Thomsen said Brown has not seen the offer and they haven’t discussed it.
The suit alleges Brown parked in a handicapped parking spot outside a drug store about 2 a.m. on Jan. 26, and was approached by a white Milwaukee officer who shoved Brown and subsequently called for backup. The player was never charged with anything in the incident. The lot appeared to be completely empty.
Several other white officers surrounded Brown as they questioned him and one pulled out a gun after two policemen noticed what appeared to be targets from a gun range in the player’s car.
Brown, a 23-year-old reserve player on the NBA team, was unarmed.
While law enforcement sources initially claimed Brown had been the aggressor, videos show police escalated the situation rapidly while Brown spoke in a frustrated tone of voice but never raised his volume or moved toward officers.
The suit claims one of eight police officers named as defendants in the suit pulled his gun and another used a stun gun on Brown after he was already subdued and being held on the ground by several other officers.
“It’s simply outrageous that someone would pull their gun” in this situation where Brown posed no serious danger to any of the officers, Thomsen told Reuters.
The suit says that Brown, who was 22 at the time of the incident, “was kneed in the groin by one of the officers” before being thrown to the cold pavement during a night when the wind chill temperature was 26 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius).
Brown was already on the ground held by officers when he was shocked with the stun gun in the back, the suit claims.
The suit also claims that several of the officers switched off body cameras to conceal their actions and some of them conspired to synchronize their stories after the incident.
Police Chief Alfonso Morales announced last year in May that 11 of the officers involved in Brown’s arrest were disciplined or retrained. Morales also said he had apologized to Brown for the officers’ behavior. One officer who was at the scene of the arrest but not involved in it was fired for racist social media posts about the incident.
Brown did not ask for a specific monetary amount in his lawsuit. His attorney said when he filed the lawsuit that more than money Brown wanted “the city (to) actually admit to the wrongs, admit that his constitutional rights were violated.”
But Thomsen said the city is still unwilling to do that, noting that a witness designated to speak on behalf of the city in a deposition denied that Brown’s civil rights were violated. Thomsen said that until there is that admission, “We’re not really talking money.”
Thomsen also said what’s important to Brown is that the department enacts reforms.
“Mr. Brown said I want to help change what happens on the streets with every person in Milwaukee,” Thomsen told reporters.
Police have said they have enacted several reforms since Brown’s arrest, including more training for officers on fair and impartial policing.