Police apologise over stun gun arrest of NBA star Brown

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Police in the US have apologised over the arrest of basketball star Sterling Brown which started with a parking violation and escalated to include the use of a stun gun.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologised to the NBA player for the January arrest and said some officers had been disciplined.

Brown, who is African-American, says the incident was “an attempt at police intimidation” and that it “shouldn’t happen to anybody”.

Community groups in the city also criticised police for how they handled the Milwaukee Bucks star.

Mr Morales’s apology came as police released body-camera footage that showed how a simple interaction over an illegally parked car quickly escalated.

The video represents another setback for a department that for years has tried to rebuild its image and relationship with Milwaukee’s black residents after several high-profile cases of police misconduct.

Police did not identify the races of the officers, but most in the video appeared to be white.

It began around 2am on January 26 in a pharmacy car park. As Brown walks out of the store, the footage shows an officer standing by his car asking for his driving licence. When Brown gets close to his car’s passenger door, the officer touches Brown and he tells the officer not to touch him.

“Back up! Back up!” the officer yells. “For what? I ain’t did nothing,” Brown responds. Brown eventually shows the officer his licence.

Police body-cam footage  of officers holding down Sterling Brown
Police body-cam footage of officers holding down Sterling Brown (Milwaukee Police Department/AP)

“I got up on your face? Really?” Brown responds in disbelief.

Brown, surrounded by four officers by his car, is then asked to take his hands out of his pockets. Almost immediately a scuffle ensues, with the officers swarming over Brown and one yelling “Taser, Taser, Taser!”

Brown is heard groaning in pain on the ground, although he is barely visible from the camera’s viewpoint.

Brown was not charged with anything.

“The department conducted an investigation into the incident, which revealed members acted inappropriately and those members were recently disciplined,” Mr Morales said at a brief news conference.

“I am sorry this incident escalated to this level.”

He left without taking questions. He did not identify the officers or say how they were disciplined.

In a statement, Brown said the experience “was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody”.

“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,” he said.

“This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.”

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