Milwaukee’s top lawyer backs police officers’ use of a stun gun on Bucks guard Sterling Brown during a January arrest over a parking violation. City Attorney Grant Langley put the blame on Brown for the incident in a court filing on Friday.
“The injuries and damages sustained by the plaintiff, if any, were caused in whole or in part by their own acts or omissions,” read the document.
The filing contradicts previous statements from the police chief Alfonso Morales and mayor Tom Barrett; both apologized for the officers’ actions. The Journal-Sentinel says Barrett seemed blindsided by the filing.
“It is my hope that this can be resolved in a constructive way for Mr. Brown and for the community,” Barrett told the Journal-Sentinel, “I think it’s counterproductive for anybody to turn up the heath with rhetoric like this. I’m trying to bring respect throughout the entire community, and I’m going to continue to do that.”
In June, Brown announced he was suing the city and its police department for the officers’ use of excessive force. He was arrested on Jan. 26 after confronting police for writing him a ticket outside of a Walgreens. Body camera footage shows after a brief verbal confrontation with officer Joseph Grams over an alleged parking violation, several more officers are called to the scene. The 6-foot-6, 235 pound guard appears to be cooperating with police before several officers tackle him for not taking his hands out of his pockets. He was tased in the back and handcuffed.
Grams and two police sergeants were suspended for committing various infractions. Eight other officers were forced into mandatory retraining. Brown was taken to jail but quickly released. He was never charged in the incident. The NBA player’s lawsuit accuses the police department for violating the Brown’s rights. Brown says he was targeted by law enforcement because he was black.
“Wisconsin is a particularly hostile location for African-Americans, specifically with regards to their interactions with police and police violence,” Brown claims in the lawsuit.
Langley rejected the accusation in the city’s court filing — saying race did not play a factor in Brown’s arrest. He was re-elected to an eighth term in 2016. Langley has served as the city attorney since 1984.