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US police chief apologizes for arrest of NBA player

By AFP
media Sterling Brown #23 of the Milwaukee Bucks attempts a shot during a match against the Los Angeles Lakers in March 2018 GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

The police chief in the US city of Milwaukee apologized Wednesday for the tasing and arrest of a professional basketball player over a parking violation.

Chief Alfonso Morales said disciplinary action had been taken against the officers involved in the January arrest of Sterling Brown, a member of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

It is the latest case to highlight police treatment of African Americans.

Brown had initially been detained for parking in a handicapped zone, before being wrestled to the ground, tased with a stun gun and arrested.

Police body camera footage, from the vantage point of one of the unidentified officers, shows at least six officers surrounding Brown.

One of the officers yells, "Take your hands out of your pockets now!"

Brown responds: "No. I got stuff in my hands."

At which point the officers swarm the 23-year-old.

The city's Mayor Tom Barrett said the video, which the police department released, raised "concerns" while the police chief offered an apology.

"Members (of the police department) acted inappropriately, and those members were recently disciplined," Chief Morales said at a news conference.

"I am sorry this incident escalated to this level," he added, without detailing the disciplinary actions taken or releasing names of the officers involved.

Brown faced no criminal charges from the arrest and was issued a parking citation.

He released a statement promising to take legal action against Milwaukee police to "continue forcing change in our community."

"Black men shouldn't have to have their guard up and instantly be on the defensive when seeing a police officer, but it's our reality and a real problem," Brown said.

His team also released a statement, calling the incident "shameful and inexcusable."

"We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored," the Bucks organization said.

Milwaukee has had several protests over police conduct, putting the city on edge ahead of the video's release by police.

In August 2016 Milwaukee saw two days of arson and civil unrest after police shot and killed an African American suspect after a brief foot chase.

That was just one of many police killings of blacks in recent years, and which have been protested by the Black Lives Matter movement that gained national prominence.

 
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