MILWAUKEE — Bucks fans - still on a high from the Game 5 win Thursday night - are already planning to be back in the Deer District Saturday night to watch the Bucks try to clinch the Eastern Conference in Atlanta, and earn a trip to the NBA finals. Another huge crowd is expected.
The Bucks' watch parties have been overwhelmingly positive and unifying for the city of Milwaukee. But some of what we witnessed Thursday night in the Deer District hits home the fact that you don't want the bad behavior of a few, ruining it for all.
One of our TMJ4 News crews recorded cell phone video showing a fight right on the plaza outside Fiserv Forum during Thursday night's game.
"The fight happened a few feet away, and then the people involved were taken out through this gate," said Joseph Brown, who's been in front of the big screen for every single Bucks watch party during the playoffs. "When the people started fighting, police officers were there immediately to break it up."
"I don't think the bad behavior represents Milwaukee," said Payton Johnson, who was downtown for his first Bucks watch party Thursday. "It was two men who started fighting. I think they were a little drunk and they didn't listen to the cops, so they got taken out."
Milwaukee police confirm the people involved in that fight were ejected from the Deer District. According to MPD, there was a seond brawl near 3rd Street and Highland Avenue after the game. They cited one person involved in that incident for disorderly conduct.
Another TMJ4 News crew captured the moment police took a man into custody on the plaza during Thursday's game. MPD says that was the first arrest made at a Deer District watch party during the past two weeks. According to police, the man was cited for disorderly conduct and obstructing.
Overall, there is a strong police presence downtown for these events. The Bucks also have security throughout the Deer District.
Most fans stay focused on the game. "People are not here to fight, they're here to have fun," Brown said. "I truly believe that this has been a positive event here in our city."
"All around there was security," Johnson said. "Honestly, that watch party was the best time I've ever had in Milwaukee. I'm from Monroe. This was an experience I will never forget, and I'm excited to be back Saturday."
We don't want to take anything away from the Bucks, their fans, or the Deer District. Considering the size and scope of these watch parties, there have been no major problems. But everyone wants to keep it that way. If you do plan to attend the watch party, know that police and security can evict you from the area, and police are prepared to make arrests.
Barry Baum, the Chief Communications Officer for the Bucks, sent TMJ4 News this statement: “Security, safety and health for our fans are always our top priorities. We work very closely with the Milwaukee Police Department and appreciate its partnership in providing a safe environment at Deer District. Our fans have been terrific during our playoff viewing events and we look forward to seeing them Saturday night.”