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Report: Bucks' Sterling Brown to settle civil rights lawsuit with city of Milwaukee for $750,000

Liz Roscher
·4-min read

Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks has agreed to settle his civil rights lawsuit with the city of Milwaukee for $750,000, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The settlement also reportedly includes changes to the Milwaukee Police Department’s standard operating procedures.

Brown sued the city over his January 2018 arrest in a Walgreens parking lot, during which he was tased and brutalized by Milwaukee police officers over a parking violation. Brown alleged that he was targeted and subjected to that treatment because he was a Black man.

The settlement

The city of Milwaukee will reportedly pay Brown $750,000 to settle the lawsuit, but the agreement includes more than just money. According to The Athletic, the city will also publicly admit to violating Brown’s constitutional rights and implement concrete changes to the Milwaukee Police Department’s standard operating procedures within 180 days of signing the agreement. It is not yet known what those changes will be.

Brown had already been offered a settlement by the city of Milwaukee in September 2019. They offered him $400,000, but did not offer an admission of liability or any changes to the police department operating procedures. Brown turned it down immediately, telling ESPN that it was “a slap in the face,” and emphasizing that money was not the issue.

"They tried to throw a few dollar amounts at me just to get me to shut up, and I really couldn't take it because I'm not doing it for myself anymore, I'm doing it for everybody else around," he said via ESPN.

"I've got plenty of people going through the same thing in Chicago and back at home. So I know it's happening in Milwaukee, so I'm pretty much being that voice for those who don't have the platform that I have to make this national news, to make this [discussed] around the country," he continued. "So, that's pretty much my current situation."

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 29: Sterling Brown #23 of the Milwaukee Bucks holds the Hyperice Hypervolt during the first quarter in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Orlando Magic during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 29, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks has reportedly reached a settlement with the city of Milwaukee over his racially motivated 2018 arrest in a Walgreens parking lot. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Why was Brown arrested?

Brown filed his suit in June 2018, six months after he was arrested and tased at 2 a.m. in a Walgreens parking lot while waiting for a citation for having his car parked across two accessible spots. Over a minor parking violation, multiple officers surrounded Brown, then handcuffed and tased him. Body cam footage from the arrest shows them forcing his face into the asphalt and stepping on his ankle. An officer was also seen laughing about their use of a taser.

Officers only became concerned about their actions when they realized that Brown was a Bucks player. They wanted to avoid the “media firestorm” that would erupt over them arresting and tasing a famous athlete.

Police chief Alfonso Morales publicly apologized for Brown’s arrest in May 2018, stating that the officers involved acted “inappropriately” and had been punished. He did not commit to making any changes to the police department to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Brown has continued working against police brutality

The lawsuit is not the only way that Brown, 25, has been working to stop police brutality. He and several of his Bucks teammates led a protest against “racist police” in June in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

In August, he was one of the players who led the Bucks to start a wildcat strike and walk out of their playoff game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. According to teammate Kyle Korver, Brown and George Hill were the first two players who said that they weren’t going to play during an emotional team meeting in the locker room. The rest of their teammates also said they would sit out to support them, and that action spread across the NBA and through the world of sports.

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