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Milwaukee Police Chief Unable To Give Details Of Officers Involved In Sterling Brown Arrest

Milwaukee State Representatives, Common Council Members Demand Change

Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton
Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton speaking to reporters. Ximena Conde/WPR

The head of the Milwaukee Police Department says he can’t release the names of the officers involved in the January tasing and arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. A department investigation found officers acted inappropriately in responding to what started as a parking violation.

Body camera footage shows Brown was tased after he hesitated when ordered to take his hands out of his pockets — at least six officers surrounded him — once again putting the department’s use of force under scrutiny.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the original officer on the scene was suspended for two days, while two supervisors involved were suspended for 10 and 15 days.

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Recently-appointed Police Chief Alfonso Morales confirmed the disciplinary measures Friday afternoon.

The day before, Morales said he’s legally prevented from releasing the officers’ names.

New Fire and Police Commission Executive Director La Keisha Butler said she understands how withholding the officers’ names could raise questions about transparency — something Morales has promised to increase in the department — but the law ultimately dictates how the investigation is handled.

“If we do not follow those rules, we end up being subject to liability on the back end for not following the rules and procedures that are in place, whether that’s via the contract that the officers work under or by state law,” said Butler.

After a meeting with Milwaukee state representatives, Morales took questions from reporters for the first time since the release of the body camera footage Wednesday.

Morales told reporters that turning the department around will take time.

“I’ve been here four months and we’re looking at changing the direction of the department,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve all seen what we’ve done.”

Still, Milwaukee state representatives and common council members are calling for more information from the investigation to be released, including details of the disciplinary measures taken against the officers involved.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said alders want to work with the Police Department to change the relationship between officers and residents.

“We recognize the historical tensions that exist between minority communities and police departments. Milwaukee is no different from any other urban center,” said Hamilton, adding that the city can set itself apart through a commitment to bringing about change.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs said members of the council want to discuss the Police Department’s training and policies as they pertain to de-escalation and implicit and cultural bias, something some Milwaukee state lawmakers cited as areas of interest after their meeting with the police chief.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Gov. Scott Walker have both weighed in on the footage. Kleefisch called the video “disconcerting.”

Walker took to Twitter to say the Brown arrest video shows the value of police body cameras for both officers and the public.