An incident last January thrust Milwaukee guard Sterling Brown into the middle of a national debate on police use of excessive force with black men.
Brown was thrown to the ground and tased over a late-night parking violation outside a Walgreens store, a situation where six police cars were called. You can see the body cam video above, but Brown shows no signs of resistance, nor was he ever charged in this situation. Brown filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department over the incident, the city’s mayor apologized for it, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission asked for a full review of, and the Milwaukee City Attorney filed papers in court saying the officers did nothing wrong, while the Bucks organization responded with support for Brown as did the team’s players.
Up to this point, the officers involved faced mild suspensions. However, that has changed, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
One of the Milwaukee police officers involved in the arrest of Bucks player Sterling Brown has been fired, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Thursday.
The officer was fired for violating social media policy — not for his conduct the night Brown was tased and arrested.
Here are a couple of the social media posts in question (there are some other racist posts from this officer related to NBA players listed in Brown’s lawsuit).
(The second of those came after Game 1 of the NBA Finals last season, after J.R. Smith‘s blunder.)
Social media is a precarious thing and if your job involves working with the public — as a police officer’s certainly does — it can and should be able to get you in trouble, especially when you bring work situations into that area. It’s not a question of free speech, but speech can have consequences. And should.