A $750,000 proposed settlement in a police misconduct lawsuit brought by former Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown gained the approval of the Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday, nearly three years after the lawsuit was filed, reports USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The settlement is worth an estimated $750.000.
For Brown, the case’s conclusion comes with an optimism that it can be used to help save lives.
He sees an opportunity to continue working on improving the relationship between police and the justice system, and the wider community. And, he said, the settlement provides a framework for the kinds of policies that could be implemented in other communities across the nation and he urged others to continue pushing for change.
“Three years, it didn’t go to waste because we came out on the other end with something positive,” he said on Tuesday. “So, really, overall this has been a learning experience.”
In 2018, Milwaukee police took Brown to the ground, used a Taser on him, and arrested him in an encounter that started with a parking violation at Walgreens. Police body camera footage showed Brown staying calm and polite as the officers became increasingly confrontational. Brown was not charged.
The incident prompted an internal investigation that ended with several officers suspended and others retrained.
“With this settlement, the city turns a page and embraces the 21st century, where we will insist on recognizing citizens’ rights, human rights and developing a police force of peace officers to work with the community to better our city,” said Brown’s attorney, Mark Thomsen. “And the payment of the $750,000 recognizes the value of individuals’ civil rights and in particular young African American men, who have been for too long mistreated and had their civil rights violated without any real oversight.”
Ald. Mark Borkowski abstained while the other 14 Common Council members approved the settlement.
Mayor Tom Barrett will sign the legislation, according to a spokesman.
“The Mayor is glad the issue is resolved,” spokesman Jeff Fleming said in an email. “The settlement agreement includes a number of reasonable and appropriate provisions. Importantly, the policy and rule changes will help improve policing in Milwaukee and directly incorporate anti-racism provisions.”
Brown, now a member of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, said money from the settlement would be used for programming and other efforts through his foundation, the Brown Brothers SALUTE Foundation.
The settlement also requires the city to commit to changes to the Milwaukee Police Department’s standard operating procedures. They include changes on fair and impartial policing; training and career development; citizen contacts, field interviews and search and seizure; arrest authority; personnel investigations; use of force; and body cameras.
The settlement includes an apology from the city and Milwaukee police that “recognizes that the incident escalated in an unnecessary manner and despite Mr. Brown’s calm behavior.”