Sterling Brown was involved in an altercation with the police on January 26, 2018, in which he was tackled, tased, and stepped on by officers for a mere parking violation, and when Brown brought a civil rights lawsuit into federal court stating that the police used excessive force the city of Milwaukee decided that they didn’t want that smoke and agreed to a $750,000 settlement.
Sterling Brown exited a local Walgreens on January 26 to find Officer Joseph Grams waiting for him by his car.
As Brown approached his car Officer Grams asked him if he has his driver’s license. Brown asks, “What’s the issue?”, then Officer Grams pushes him and tells him to back up.
Brown tells Officer Gram not to touch him several times. Officer Grams then asks Brown, “You don’t see the issue here?… You’re not parked across three lanes?…”
Brown then appears to tell someone to get back in their car because he is good.
Officer Grams then calls for back up and the blue squad shows up in numbers, so much so that Officer Grams even says he only called for one officer to back him up.
Shortly after multiple cops are on the scene all hell breaks lose. See the bodycam footage below:
The Milwaukee Police Association initially defended the arrest, calling the use of force “a necessary component of policing” until the above bodycam footage was released to the public, then they changed their tone stating, they welcomed “appropriate review and oversight” of the matter.
Brown’s lawsuit stated that he was discriminated against because he is black, his rights were violated because a parking violation was treated as a criminal offense, and he was never read his Miranda rights.
The lawsuit alleged, unlawful arrest, excessive use of force, and violation of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. It also accused the officers of collaborating to conceal their actions because several of them turned their bodycams off during parts of the confrontation.
Below is video of an in-depth analysis of the incident by ABC News in 2018:
According to officials, in 2018 two sergeants were suspended without pay for 10 and 15 days for “failing to be a role model for professional police service.” One officer was suspended for two days for “failing to treat a member of the public with courtesy and professionalism.” Eight others received remedial training in professional communications.
The Milwaukee Bucks issued a statement on Monday (Nov.9) supporting Brown’s decision to use the “horrifying abuse and injustice” to make a change in the community.
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.
Thankfully, Sterling Brown lived to tell this story, and I’m sure that $750,000 band-aid helped heal some wounds.