MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee police are poised to release body camera footage Wednesday from the officers who used a stun gun on NBA Bucks guard Sterling Brown during a January arrest.
The release comes as city officials who’ve viewed the videos have expressed concern about how officers conducted themselves. Even leaders of the police department have hinted the video may make them look bad.
Brown was arrested in a Walgreens parking lot about 2 a.m. Jan. 26. Officers had been checking on a vehicle parked across two handicap spaces. Brown was not charged.
Police have shown the body-camera footage to some local officials, including a closed session of a Common Council committee.
The Milwaukee Bucks signed the 6-foot-6 guard from SMU last summer in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The video represents another potential setback for a department that for years has tried to rebuild its image and relationship with Milwaukee’s black residents after several high-profile cases of police misconduct.
A day before releasing the body camera footage, Chief Alfonso Morales posted a video on YouTube to reiterate his commitment to rebuild the public’s trust in the department.
“So if there’s ever an incident where one of our members makes a mistake, unnecessarily escalating a situation, I’m going to be honest and transparent about it,” he said. “In those incidents, where we have made mistakes and are wrong, I’m sorry.”
Morales was appointed chief in February, following the retirement of Edward Flynn, who held the position for 10 years.
Last year, Milwaukee paid $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man fatally shot by a police officer after the officer roused him from a park bench downtown. The officer said he shot Hamilton 14 times in self-defense because they got into a struggle when the officer frisked him for weapons.
In 2016, the city paid $5 million to settle a lawsuit by 74 black residents who said police illegally strip-searched them between 2008 and 2012. Currently, the city is considering settling a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin, which is representing eight residents who say police targeted them for stops simply because they were black or Latino and the high-crime areas where they lived.
In early May, police and prosecutors began investigating four officers who were involved in the violent arrest of a black man in a majority African-American neighborhood. Video from a bystander showed a group of officers kicking and punching the man on the ground while he was restrained. Police presented their body camera footage of the encounter, which showed the man aggressively charging at officers and trying to punch them.
By IVAN MORENO by Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC(U.S)