'I get mad every time I watch it,' NBA player says of video showing police using stun gun on him
Written by Anthony Ali on May 25, 2018
(MILWAUKEE) — NBA rookie Sterling Brown felt “defenseless” when police surrounded him in a parking lot, pulled him to the ground and tased him in an arrest for which the Milwaukee police chief apologized.
A day after police body camera video was released showing officers allegedly using excessive force on him over what was initially a parking violation, the 23-year-old Milwaukee Bucks’ player told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts that he wants justice, not only for himself but for others who have experienced similar situations.
During the early morning hours on Jan. 26, Brown was parked illegally outside of a Walgreens drug store when he was approached by an officer wearing a body camera. “You don’t see the issue here? You’re not parked across three lanes?” the officer can be heard saying in the now-viral footage.
Brown said that he “initially didn’t see” the policeman until he “got right in front of the car” and was confronted by the officer.
“He told me to — get away from the car and all that,” Brown recalled. “And I’m asking … ‘What’s going on?’”
“I’m double parked,” he added. “But, you know … he called backup, and backup came.”
Six police vehicles soon arrived on the scene. “From there,” Brown told Roberts. “They surrounded me.”
In a police report of the incident, officers wrote that Brown was acting “very aggressive” and “physically resisted.” The video shows Brown standing calmly and attempting to comply with orders when officers swarmed him, forced him to the ground and used a stun gun on him in the drugstore parking lot in Milwaukee.
“I mean, everybody thought that … from the beginning, you know, thought I was combative, thought I was, you know, being aggressive,” Brown said.
He said watching the video and reliving the nightmare has only made him angry.
“I mean, I get mad every time I watch it, you know, ’cause I was defenseless, pretty much,” Brown told Roberts.
In the video, an officer repeatedly orders Brown to “back up,” before telling him “I will do what I want, alright? I own this right here.”
The officer accuses Brown of “being all badass with me” to which Brown replies “I ain’t got no problem.”
Other officers arrive on the scene and can be seen talking to Brown near his vehicle when one of the officers shouts for Brown to take his hands out of his pockets. Brown says that he has “stuff” in his pockets as several officers close in and take him to the ground. A scuffle ensues and an officer yells “Taser, Taser, Taser!” Brown can be heard moaning on the ground.
But Brown said the video doesn’t begin to show the frightening details he endured.
“The video shows no justice at what really happened,” Brown said. “Like, it’s a bodycam, it’s close, you can hear me screaming or what not. But anybody who’s been in that position knows how … how dirty it can get. So it’s … it’s tough every time I watch it.”
He recalled being “on the ground for about ten minutes.” Brown said that during that time, his thoughts were “How do I get home? How do I see my family?”
Physically, being tased “was a shock,” Brown said, adding that “you could hear it.”
“It came out of nowhere,” he recalled of the shock. “I tensed up instantly.”
He said he thinks it escalated so quickly because “they wanted to control the situation, they wanted to show their force, their power.”
He said he’s finally speaking out and pursuing legal action against the police department because he wants to send a message that what was done to him was not right.
“That’s why I’m … doing what I’m doing legally,” he said. “I’m here speaking to you, you know, just to draw attention to it and try to, you know, be that voice and try to help as many people as I can in this situation.”
“I mean whether I park illegally or not,” Brown said. “It shouldn’t have led to what it led to.”
“I could have just got a ticket, went home, paid however much money,” he added.
He said for a long time after the incident, he did not want what happened to him to be made public.
“I really didn’t want it to come out. I really didn’t want the video,” Brown said. “It’s just personal. Like, it’s personal business. You know, as I thought about it more … I mean I feel like why not? You know, why not be a voice for people who, you know, can’t say anything or can’t speak up for themselves?”
Brown was not charged with a crime as a result of the incident.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference held Wednesday that the officers involved “acted inappropriately” and were “recently disciplined.”
Morales did not detail what that discipline entailed and did not answer reporters’ questions.
“I am sorry this incident escalated to this level,” Morales said.
In a statement, the Milwaukee Police Association blamed the Brown incident on a “drastically understaffed” department. “Because officers are frequently mandated to work alone they are at greater risk to be compelled to use higher levels of force,” the statement reads. “Use of Force will never look pretty, but it is — unfortunately, a necessary component of policing. The cause or need for force is always dictated by the subject confronting the police officer.”
Brown said that instances similar to what happened to him, have been “happening for years, and people’s stories have not been told.”
For this reason, he feels it’s his “responsibility” to speak out.
Brown encouraged others to “keep fighting” and “bringing attention” to instances like this, and to keep “putting pressure” on those in authority so that one day things will “change.”
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