The city of Milwaukee braced itself for immense backlash after a body cam video released Wednesday showed NBA rookie Sterling Brown get violently tackled to the ground and Tased by multiple officers over a minor parking violation.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales released the video, which was recorded when Brown, a Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard, was confronted for parking in a handicapped spot at a Walgreens on Jan. 26.
Before releasing the video, Chief Morales held a news conference where he apologized and said the officers involved were punished.
"Members acted inappropriately, and those members were recently disciplined," he said in a statement. "I’m sorry this incident escalated to this level."
After the video was released, Brown issued a statement that read: "What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and Tased, and then unlawfully booked."
In the video, an officer approached Brown after noticing his Mercedes sedan was parked across two disabled spots at the drugstore. After more cops arrived on scene, the Bucks' guard has a conversation with them for several minutes before he is wrestled to the ground.
Eventually, the questioning turned into Brown being ordered to take his hands out of his pockets. Shortly after, Brown is on the ground and a cop yells, "Taser! Taser! Taser!"
The release of the video poetically arrives on the heels of the NFL’s decision to enact a new fine on players who kneel in protest of police brutality during the national anthem. In his own statement, Brown connected his experience to the fatal killings of "Dontre Hamilton of Milwaukee, Laquan McDonald of Chicago, Stephon Clark of Sacramento, Eric Garner of New York, and the list goes on."
"The common denominator in all of these situations has been racism towards the minority community, the abuse of power, and the lack of accountability for officers involved," Brown said.
Brown said he would file suit against the Milwaukee Police Department.
"It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment," the statement read. “We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.
“There needs to be more accountability.”
You can watch the full video below.
(Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)