Nearly three years after his late-night run-in with police officers, Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown has reached a $750,000 settlement agreement in his civil rights lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee.
Brown authorized his lawyer Mark Thomsen to sign the settlement agreement Friday after initially rejecting a $400,000 offer in October 2019.
On Jan. 26, 2018, Brown alleged that Milwaukee officers targeted him outside a Walgreens store because he is Black. They used a stun gun when he didn’t immediately remove his hands from his pockets, as ordered, while waiting for a parking citation.
He first filed the lawsuit in June 2018 after body-camera footage was released showing a Milwaukee police officer stepping on his ankle during the arrest while others mocked his potential civil rights complaint.
In addition to money, Brown wants the settlement to include a joint statement from the City of Milwaukee that contains an admission of a constitutional violation and a commitment to incorporate changes to the Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedures, which must be implemented within 180 days of the agreement.
All along, Brown stated that his stance was more than just a financial gain.
“I’ve got plenty of people going through the same thing in Chicago and back at home,” Brown told ESPN in December. “So I know it’s happening in Milwaukee, so I’m pretty much being that voice for those who don’t have the platform that I have to make this national news.”
“Because of the unpredictability of a trial, and the City’s risk for exposure to compensatory and punitive changes, 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 A. Pederson wrote Nov. 4 to the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee as a proposed settlement of claims.
“Consistent with our recommendation, we request authorization to execute a settlement agreement on behalf of the City and its officer, and have enclosed an appropriated resolution for your consideration.”
The Milwaukee Bucks issued a statement on Monday: “We are pleased that Sterling’s lawsuit has been mutually resolved and that there’s been an important commitment by the City of Milwaukee and its Police Department to make changes to the MPD’s standard operating procedures. No one should ever have to go through the horrifying abuse and injustice that Sterling experienced. We commend Sterling for his courageous response to this terrible situation by repeatedly sharing his story and working tirelessly with countless local groups and organizations to help make change in our community. And we also commend the City’s leadership for its commitment to implement these important changes to better Milwaukee.”
Brown averaged 5.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in his third season with the Bucks in 2019-20. He couldn’t be reached for comment.