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Tuesday
Jun052018

Milwaukee Common Council investigating why police withheld different Sterling Brown arrest videos

WISN-TV(MILWAUKEE) -- The Milwaukee Common Council has launched an investigation after the police department apparently withheld different body-camera footage of Sterling Brown's January arrest that top city officials didn't see until it aired on television.

According to Council President Ashanti Hamilton, the council and Mayor Tom Barrett didn't see the newly released videos of the arrest, obtained by ABC affiliate WISN-TV.

"I think it's clear that the videos didn't show the police department in the best light," Hamilton told ABC News. "I don't know if there were any rule violations or procedural violations in it."

Barrett told WISN-TV he wants to know why police didn't show him all the footage.

"They need to be better trained and they need to change the way they operate," Barrett told WISN-TV. "They have to learn that this is going to be something that's going to be released to the public and they should do it all at once."

Last month, the Milwaukee Police Department released one version of the body-camera video depicting the night of the arrest.

Brown walked out of a Milwaukee Walgreens around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26 toward the parking lot and was confronted by officers who asked him why he parked horizontally across two handicapped spots.

The officers repeatedly tell Brown to back up and one of them says, "I will do what I want all right? I own this right here."

Other officers arrived on the scene and can be seen talking to Brown near his vehicle when one of the officers shouts for Brown to take his hands out of his pockets.

A scuffle breaks out and an officer yells, "Taser! Taser! Taser!" Brown can be heard moaning on the ground.

After Brown was brought to the ground and hit with one of the officer's stun guns, they continued to stand around him even though he was handcuffed.

In new video of the incident, officers can be heard expressing concern among themselves about a potential backlash from the arrest.

"The bureau is coming out for this? ... We're trying to protect ourselves because he plays for the Bucks, and if he makes a complaint, it's going to be a [expletive] and then any little [expletive] thing that goes wrong is going to be, 'Ooh, the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist," the officer said sarcastically.

In another one of the videos, officers can be heard asking Brown -- who is lying prone on the ground after being hit with the stun gun -- if he plays for the Bucks, and Brown responds that he must look familiar to them.

In the end, Brown was not charged with anything and was issued a parking violation.

Brown's representatives said he plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference May 23 that the officers involved "acted inappropriately" and they all received suspensions.

Hamilton said that the decision to investigate came after meeting with the police department yesterday. They'll be looking at all activity from the night of the arrest and decide if what, if any, "remedies" can be implemented in the future.

"I think we needed to create a platform of transparency," Hamilton said. "The public wants to hear and see everything associated with this. It's an important conversation and we need to try and tackle it."

Barrett released a statement later on Tuesday that read: "I'm very proud of the fact that Milwaukee was and continues to be a leader in the use of body worn cameras. What we need to do now is conduct an analysis of best practices as to the release of the video."

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