Police released bodycam footage from January 2018 of the unconscionable tasing and arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player, Sterling Brown, for a parking violation. Surprising exactly no one, it shows shocking use of police force against him for simply having parked where he shouldn't.
It took exactly 30 seconds (I checked) of interaction - very calm and quiet on the part of Brown, confrontational and "Who the hell do you think you're talking to, boy?" on the part of the officer - for the cop to request back-up. After being surrounded by officers, answering their questions, asking some of his own, doing what the officers asked of him, Brown was thrown to the ground, tased and put in handcuffs.
Milwaukee's current Police Chief, Alfonso Morales, said the officers acted inappropriately, and 3 of the 8 (EIGHT!) officers were "disciplined." He failed to disclose what the punishment was, and while promising transparency, Morales refused to allow questions from reporters at the news conference.
You just KNOW if a white person had come out of that Walgreens, they would have gotten a ticket and a friendly wave. From the tone of this officer from the beginning, though, he was on a mission to put this Black man in his place. He was on the most racist of power trips, and you could smell it through the bodycam. The control Sterling Brown showed...the calm...asking questions he had the right to ask...answering the cop's questions over and over...still not enough. That cop demanded deference and when he didn't get it, man, he called for backup. Surrounded Sterling Brown with 7 more armed agents of the state. And while he still kept his cool, asking his questions in a calm, low voice, that cop kept making excuses, blaming him for starting it.
Black people are ALWAYS having to fear and fight for their lives. No matter WHAT they do. No matter WHO they are.
Council President Ashanti Hamilton said the situation "shouldn't have ended up in the person being tased, handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail."
"I don’t want to debate the humanity of my community anymore," Hamilton said Wednesday.
"I don’t want to debate the humanity of black males ... and then the slightest thing that you can find that they did wrong, and use that as a justification for the actions that’s used against them. That can’t be a debate in this country anymore."
The police union seems to disagree. They're more than willing to debate.
The Milwaukee Police Association, the union representing rank-and-file officers, called for support of the city's police force and said use of force is "always dictated" by the person responding to the officer.
"Use of force will never look pretty, but it is, unfortunately, a necessary component of policing," the union said in a Facebook post, adding: "Inevitably every use of force will be scrutinized and often opinion gets in the way of fact."
THAT was their response? God forbid they should understand how it would strengthen their credibility to use force more judiciously, and pledge to that goal.
The release of this video could not put a finer point on the larger framework enveloping our country right now. The president would like to forbid protest on the field. The NFL owners responded by silencing their players. The attorney general wants fewer constraints on police, not more. The police respond with more violence. Authoritarianism, thy name is America.