MILWAUKEE -- A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday, June 19 against the City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department by the attorney for Milwaukee Bucks' guard Sterling Brown. It claims one of the officers involved in Brown's January arrest made light of the situation on social media, and calls the arrest unlawful and racially motivated. It alleged the officers used excessive force, and points out the online actions of at least one officer show racial bias.
The federal civil rights lawsuit has been brought against the city, the police chief and eight MPD officers. The complaint claims Brown was unlawfully arrested and a Taser was used on him because of his race after his vehicle was found parked across two handicapped parking spaces at the Walgreens store near 27th and National.
"Mr. Brown hopes that instead of the typical denial of the claims, that in its answer, the city actually admits to the wrongdoing," said Mark Thomsen, Brown's attorney.
Three officers were punished for their actions in this case. Sean Mahnke got a 15-day suspension without pay. Jeffery Krueger was suspended for 10 days without pay. Bojan Samarddzic was suspended for two days without pay.
The lawsuit says he pulled a pistol on Brown during the arrest.
Brown's attorney says one of the officers who didn't receive discipline mocked Brown on Facebook, posting: "Nice meeting Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks at work this morning. LOL. #FeartheDeer."
The lawsuit says in April, the same officer posted racially-charged memes, and in May, poked fun after the first game of the NBA Finals, suggesting a Cleveland Cavaliers' player should double park the next time he's in Milwaukee.
"I do find them disappointing," said La Keisha Butler, executive director of the Fire and Police Commission.
Butler said the board will be looking into all of it, as the FPC has called for a complete audit of the Brown arrest -- looking into protocol, discipline and any changes that need to be made.
"We'll try to do the best we can to unearth anything that has been unearthed already," said Butler.
The first phase of that audit will be discussed during Thursday's FPC meeting.