‘Definitely have concerns:’ Mayor says video release MPD has warned about involves arrest of Sterling Brown

Michael Brunson

MILWAUKEE -- Assistant Milwaukee Police Chief Michael Brunson on Sunday, May 20, during the 14th annual Ceasefire Sabbath event at a Milwaukee church, made reference to a video that will be released in the coming days or weeks that will perhaps not shed the greatest of light on the department. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday, May 21 told FOX6 News "I assume he is referring to the video involving Sterling Brown from the Milwaukee Bucks."

Mayor Barrett said Monday "I assumed and we checked this, I assume that he is referring to the video involving Sterling Brown from the Milwaukee Bucks. I think that they are going to be releasing some information about individuals who were involved in that activity but my understanding is that that's what he was referring to. We called to check and see exactly what he was talking about and what we were told is that he was talking about Sterling Brown.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

When asked if there is an investigation ongoing, Mayor Barrett said "that is my understanding," and said the investigation pertains "to the conduct of those individuals involved and the arrest of Sterling Brown."

Mayor Barrett said "yes" when asked if he's seen the video, and said "my reaction is, I have the same concerns I think that are being raised in the police department. I have the same concerns that I have heard the chief mention about the actions of some of the people involved in that, and I'm gonna let the release of that speak for itself, but yes I definitely have concerns after watching that video."

Barrett said MPD Chief Alfonso Morales "is taking this very seriously, as he should."

Sterling Brown

"There's going to be a video that is going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department. I'm going to be honest with you. We're going to need your support during the challenges," said Assistant Chief Brunson on Sunday.

The body camera video was also recently viewed in a closed-session Milwaukee Common Council committee meeting, a spokesman told FOX6 News.

A Milwaukee Bucks' spokesman said Monday: "We have no comment at this time. Sterling will issue a statement once the video is released."

Meanwhile, FOX6 News has learned Brown has retained an attorney for a potential civil rights case -- so all signs point to this being a damaging video for MPD.

The arrest of Sterling Brown happened on Jan. 26. A Taser was used on him after police said around 2 a.m., they encountered a vehicle parked across two disability parking spaces at the Walgreens store near 27th and National.

Sources said officers were writing a parking ticket for Brown when Brown confronted them and became combative. He was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest. At least six police squads showed up to the store during this incident, which was captured by surveillance cameras at a nearby business.

Police said an internal review was completed and MPD "determined the case will not be presented to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for charges." According to police, "a command-level review of relevant reports and body camera footage indicate that Mr. Brown’s actions and behavior do not merit a criminal charge.  Furthermore, the department is reviewing the police response including supervisory oversight.  The matter has been referred to MPD Internal Affairs for investigation and at the completion of that investigation the findings will be made public and the body worn camera footage will be released."

Sterling Brown arrest

An MPD spokesman confirmed Brown did receive a parking citation in connection with this incident.

Mayor Barrett and former MPD Chief Ed Flynn issued statements after Alderman Bob Donovan accused Barrett of interfering in the case.

This, after Barrett said "I've talked to Peter Feigin, the president of the Milwaukee Bucks. I've also talked to the MPD. My understanding is that no charges are going to be filed (against Sterling Brown). It's also my understanding that an investigation is in place right now."

"I was contacted and my sources telling me the mayor viewed the body camera footage and the police reports and ordered this individual should not be charged," Donovan said.

In response, Mayor Barrett's Chief of Staff Patrick Curley said this in a statement:

“Alderman Donovan’s claims are absolutely false. Mayor Barrett was informed of the arrest on Friday morning and was later briefed by the police department. He has never seen the video. He absolutely did not put any pressure on the police in this case, or any case in the time he has been mayor. Alderman Donovan deserves a technical foul.”

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn released this statement:

“Although the mayor was briefed in general terms about this incident, I never had a conversation with him or took direction from him about this case.  Although I appreciate Alderman Donovan’s knee jerk loyalty to the union’s position on everything, I would remind him that getting his information from the Milwaukee Police Association does not equate with actually knowing the facts.”