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Attorney: Sterling Brown settlement hinges on whether city admits wrongdoing

Posted: 9:04 PM, Sep 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-04 22:04:54-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee city officials are offering Bucks guard Sterling Brown $400,000 to settle his lawsuit accusing police of using excessive force and targeting him because he's black when they confronted him about a parking violation.

The city's Common Council authorized the offer Wednesday during a closed session. Brown has 14 days to accept or decline it.

Brown illegally parked in a disabled spot outside a Walgreens on Jan. 26, 2018, and was talking with a group of officers while waiting for his citation when the situation escalated. Officers took him down and used a stun gun because he didn't immediately remove his hands from his pockets, as ordered.

“It was just confirmation that it could happen to anyone. It happens to a lot of black men on a daily basis,” Brown told TODAY’S TMJ4 in January.

Mark Thomsen, Brown’s attorney, said this fight is about more than dollars and cents. They want the city of Milwaukee to admit to wrongdoing.

“I think what people overlook and forget is that the city had the video and sat on it,” Thomsen said. “It was months, and during that time, his name was trashed on the internet.”

Alderman Bob Bauman argued the admission creates a slippery slope of liability for the city, taxpayers and the Milwaukee Police officers involved.

“I think what people overlook and forget is that the city had the video and sat on it. It was months, and during that time, his name was trashed on the internet.” — Mark Thomsen, Sterling Brown's attorney

“It is standard operating procedure that when parties settle a case, they settle a case with nobody admitting liability,” Bauman said. “Think of the consequences. As a practical matter, that would make all the officers involved forever useless in any criminal proceeding they’re involved in.”

Thomsen argues the admission will be essential to whether the settlement will be accepted in 14 days or if the battle will continue in court.