Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan
I join my colleagues and most individuals who have viewed the bodycam video of the arrest of Sterling Brown in noting how disturbing it is. Any use of force incident caught on camera is disturbing to average people.
I wish the entire episode could have been avoided and I believe it could have been had cooler heads prevailed.
That said, I’m disappointed that Mr. Brown has apparently decided to file a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee over this matter. It is highly ironic that a multi-millionaire player on a team that has been given hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to build a Taj Mahal new arena is taking this action. And the team itself is also cooperating and supporting Mr. Brown in this endeavor – suing a city that is flat broke.
Like my colleagues I share concerns about the number of officers who responded to the scene back in January. To me it appears that every officer assigned to patrol my district was there, even though the first officer at the scene requested just one backup. I have serious concerns about officer supervision that night and why so many officers responded.
As I’ve said before I am pleased those officers were patrolling the area because it has had serious crime problems for years, including drugs and prostitution, overdoses, armed robberies, car thefts and more. I’ve been asking MPD for increased presence at that location because Walgreens has been hit by numerous armed robberies over the years.
The way Mr. Brown’s vehicle was parked could easily have been perceived by cops as a getaway car.
I further join my colleagues and wholeheartedly agree we need to be transparent. And in the interest of transparency I have a few questions:
1. With so many officers on scene, why did it become necessary to tase Mr. Brown?
2. We hear that officers were suspended in connection with this incident, and I’d like to know what violations of law or procedure the officers violated?
3. When an officer issues a lawful order (in this case ‘take your hands out of your pockets’) what recourse does an officer have when the subject doesn’t comply?
I’m not a police officer so I’m honestly asking that question as a civilian.
4. This may be a touchy subject but – once again in the interest of transparency – what role, if any, did this mystery woman who was in the passenger seat of Mr. Brown’s vehicle play in this whole episode?
What steps, if any, has MPD taken to downplay her role or even remove her presence from videos?
In addition, what role, if any, did the woman’s presence at the scene play in prolonging this incident? After all, most people are viewing this incident as a parking violation – but was it considered more than that?
5. With eight or 10 officers present at the scene there MUST be additional bodycam video available. If there is more video available what does it show and why hasn’t it been shown to the public?
6. What steps, if any, were taken to delay the release of this video until after the Bucks’ appearance in the NBA playoffs?
7. Again – in the interest of transparency and full disclosure – what negotiations, if any, may have gone on between the Bucks and MPD regarding this entire matter?
As I’ve said, there are still many questions that need answers and I am hoping we can get some of those answers sooner rather than later.