Report: Bucks' Sterling Brown Reaches $750K Settlement in Civil Rights Lawsuit

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown (23) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-95. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Bucks guard Sterling Brown and the city of Milwaukee have reportedly agreed on a $750,000 settlement for the lawsuit he filed accusing police officers of using excessive force and carrying out a racially motivated unlawful arrest in January 2018.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the city will release a statement admitting to "a constitutional violation" and "commit to incorporate changes to the Milwaukee Police Department standard operating procedures."

"Because of the unpredictability of a trial, and the City's risk for exposure to compensatory and punitive damages, as well as additional attorney fees and costs, we recommend that this matter be settled for that amount," Milwaukee city attorney Tearman Spencer and assistant city attorney Robin Pederson wrote Wednesday to the Common Council seeking permission to authorize the settlement, according to Charania.

Officers arrested and tased Brown outside a Walgreens after finding his car double-parked across two accessible spaces in the early hours of Jan. 26, 2018. While Brown was awaiting a citation, several officers arrived on the scene, and the incident escalated when one officer ordered Brown to take his hands out of his sweatshirt. When Brown did not comply, officers took him to the ground and used a taser to subdue him.

While Brown was initially charged with resisting arrest, that was later dropped after the incident became public.

Brown told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated in July 2018:

"During the day I'm not going to park double handicap. I was literally in and out. But I parked in a double handicap. I should have been given a ticket, no doubt about it. That has [been] no justification to what escalated afterwards. So I did it, but what came after, you can't even compare it to what I should've gotten for what happened."

Brown said he feared for his life and his mindset was to stay as calm as possible so he could "get home." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called video of Brown's arrest "disheartening."

The video has been used as one of several examples of police brutality against Black people in recent times, even those in a position of privilege. In 2015, New York City police officers broke the leg of NBA player Thabo Sefolosha during an altercation. He later sued the city and won a $4 million settlement.

The NBA has made an increasingly concerted effort to highlight racial inequality, particularly during the resumption of the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida. When Bucks players helped lead a strike following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August, one of their stipulations to return to play was that the NBA agree to form a social justice coalition to advocate for police and criminal justice reform, among other things.