Body Cameras

Body Camera Footage Highlights Both Goofus and Gallant Police Conduct

Officers in Milwaukee caught tormenting an NBA player over parking, while a Texas trooper is cleared of accusations of sexual assault due to video.

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Sterling Brown footage
Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard Sterling Brown pulled one of the dickish of dick parking moves by parking his car across multiple handicapped parking spaces in front of a Walgreens in Milwaukee in January.

The result was not a ticket and a good talking-to from a police officer, but a bizarre escalating confrontation fed pretty much entirely by police bluster that would have been comical had it not ended in Brown being suddenly Tasered and piled on by a pack of officers who were called to the scene for no reason.

The entire incident was caught on police body camera. That footage was released this week, along with an apology from Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, who said the officers "acted inappropriately" and have been disciplined.

The incident is an illustration of how what should be simple, peaceful police encounters spin wildly out of hand because of the aggression of the officers. It also highlights exactly what people mean when they talk about disproportionate responses from police when they deal with them. Lastly, it underscores the value of police body cameras when making these points. The police officers initially claimed that Brown had threatened them, but Brown does nothing remotely threatening on the video.

Instead, the officer who confronted him, and was angry at him from the start, called in backup that brought in six other police vehicles and seven additional officers. Brown was surrounded in minutes by officers. Then after insisting he take his hands out of his pockets, they tackle him and Tase him.

Watch the video footage below:

Sterling was ultimately not charged with any crime and he played in a game that day with a banged up face. The Bucks organization put out a statement supporting Brown and calling his treatment "shameful and inexcusable."

It's very easy to imagine how differently this incident would have played out had it not been captured on camera. The very basic info that would have been released—that Brown had deliberately been an ass when he parked and that several police cars were called out to deal with him—would have purposefully stacked the deck against Brown in the public's perception. That we could see for ourselves that the officer who responded was being a jerk for no reason and called in an absurd amount of additional police for no reason establishes some important context.

It's also important to note when body camera footage protects police from unfounded accusations, as just happened in Ellis County, Texas. A state trooped pulled a woman over last weekend and arrested her after she failed a sobriety test. The woman, Sherita Dixon-Cole, accused the trooper of sexually assaulting her during the stop, and those accusations were pushed by the attorney she retained, Lee Merritt, who even scheduled a press conference to discuss what happened.

But then the Texas Department of Public Safety released two hours of the officer's body camera video showing that nothing even remotely inappropriate happened during the course of her arrest and police detention. Merritt subsequently put out a press release taking responsibility for amplifying the case into a national story and apologizing for the trouble caused by the false accusation.

Body camera footage both alerts us to bad police misconduct but also shields police who behave appropriately from a host of false claims. Again, consider how these accusations might have played out for the officer in this case had the footage not been available. People were instantly believing the accuser based on nothing but her claims.

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  1. who said the officers “acted inappropriately” and have been disciplined

    Discipline consisted of reminding the officers to turn off their cameras first next time.

    1. That’s still useful, because we know that anytime a cop is accused of misconduct and his camera is off the accusation is correct. Sure there won’t be any consequences for the cop without video, but realistically there generally aren’t any consequences for cops _with_ footage either. What matters is that every time it happens, it chips away at the average person’s assumption that the cops are the good guys.

      1. Right the good guys are parking their car across multiple handicap spots. Actually now that I think about neck beard lard ass libertarians are always bitching about handicap spaces so maybe Sterling Brown is that most mythical of creatures a black libertarian.

        1. I’m sorry you’re fat and old and infirm.

          1. Nope but I have old and infirm grandparents. Mine are alive because I’m not in my forties like all the happening cats here.

            1. I’m sorry you’re defensive about made fun of for being “woke”

            2. “I’m not in my forties”

              We can tell, the giveaway was your irrational defense of something extremely stupid.

              1. Having a bad day, Tulpa?

                1. Who are you talking to Sparky?

                2. “Hail Rataxes|5.24.18 @ 2:42PM|#

                  Having a bad day, Tulpa?”

                  Not really, I didn’t just get my head kicked in like you did in the football thread.

            3. This guy “Sam Haysom” is some comedian that 4chan jokes about all the time or something. I’m not sure if this is actually the obscure comic or just one of his followers. But, I think he contributes about as much to the conversation here as Hail Rataxes. Hell, this may be Rataxes’ sock puppet

              1. He didn’t use a racist slur yet so he’s probably not from 4chan.

        2. I’m totally sure he was blocking all the people who needed to park in a handicapped spot at 2am

          1. Cool so by that logic douche bag wasn’t inconvenienced either after all he got to show at work the next day so what the fuck is the big deal. No harm no foul.

            1. I bet you whine about people using the handicapped shitter too.

            2. Clearly parking in handicapped spots at 2 am justifies calling seven cop cars to the scene and a tasering.

              1. Especially if the perp is a tall black guy. You can never be too careful in that situation. For all those Brave Heroes knew he might have been high on the reefer and been listening to jazz music before they encountered him, and we all know how negroes get when they’re hopped up on the Devil Weed and jazz music. /sarc

        3. Uh, I guess you have never heard of Eric July than huh? Black Libertarians aren’t a myth at all, jackass.

        4. Actually now that I think about neck beard lard ass libertarians are always bitching about handicap spaces

          Is this a thing with us? Did I miss a memo or something?

        5. Right the good guys are parking their car across multiple handicap spots.

          Two wrongs don’t make a right.
          I would expect the officer to approach Brown, ask for his license, etc., and issue him an appropriate citation.
          I would hope Brown would sign the ticket, apologize, pay the fine, and learn his lesson.
          Civilization.

          1. “Civilization.” There you go, injecting WASP cultural values…

    2. So, I will remember this the next time I confront a douche bag who pisses me off. I can have six of my buddies jump him, restrain him, Tase him, on camera and no disputed facts. I sure the worst I’ll be facing is several days off without pay.

      And cops wonder why people don’t “support” them.

      1. Without pay? Are you a monster? Of course our gallant men in uniform will not be deprived of pay as they are forced to take a vacation from their selfless and heroic service.

    3. 1:15 looks like the cop tried to turn off the camera.

  2. But then the Texas Department of Public Safety released two hours of the officer’s body camera video showing that nothing even remotely inappropriate happened during the course of her arrest and police detention.

    Holding the record for speediest investigation and subsequent release of camera footage?

    1. Amazing how when it confirms the narrative, they release it quickly, but when it doesn’t they stonewall.

      1. Nothing amazing about it. The interesting thing about Police isn’t how they act, they act basically the same as an power structure in their position.

  3. …the officer who confronted him, and was angry at him from the start, called in backup that brought in six other police vehicles and seven additional officers. Brown was surrounded in minutes by officers. Then after insisting he take his hands out of his pockets, they tackle him and Tase him.

    Knowing the incident is being recorded, they were on their best behavior.

    1. Why not have civilian volunteers who monitor cop-cams live? And, under certain circumstances, can live-shock the cop?

      1. Like it, plus civilian gets same qualified immunity that cops get.

      2. I want that job.

      3. This seems ideal, except I can’t be sure that I’d just put a brick on the shock button and leave.

        1. Congratulations, you’re qualified to hold a government job!

    2. Knowing the incident is being recorded, they were on their best behavior.

      Sterling Brown didn’t end up in a bodybag, so yes.

  4. Merritt subsequently put out a press release taking responsibility for amplifying the case into a national story and apologizing for the trouble caused by the false accusation.

    In a just world, he would then be stripped naked on the courthouse steps and beaten senseless with rubber hoses.

    You have to send a message.

  5. Goofus and Gallant…that brings back childhood memories.

    1. Highlights for Children, right?

      1. Yeah. I swear it was in Boy’s Life too. But it’s been 20 years since I’ve read that one

    2. “I tell you what, this Goofus fella is a dumbass.”

  6. So, they’re gonna un-take him now?

    1. un-tase, goddammit

      1. Give him a Gatorade. It puts back in the electrolytes a tasing takes out.

  7. I am in favor of cameras because it is an incentive for all the participants in an encounter to act better, and as a way to hold the bad actors accountable. I don’t believe this is pro- or anti- either side. It is pro-better behavior, and pro-better for justice.

  8. “People were instantly believing the accuser based on nothing but her claims.”

    As they damn well should. Are you not paying attention? Even if they didn’t do anything wrong, we should take it for granted that they did. Even if they’re proven to have done nothing wrong, we should still punish them accordingly. Letting the victims know that we believe in them is the most important thing.

    I’m with HER!


  9. But then the Texas Department of Public Safety released two hours of the officer’s body camera video showing that nothing even remotely inappropriate happened during the course of her arrest and police detention. Merritt subsequently put out a press release taking responsibility for amplifying the case into a national story and apologizing for the trouble caused by the false accusation

    I thought we were supposed to #BelieveHer or something, regardless of the facts? Isn’t empiricism just a construct of the White Man to put down minorities and trap them in some sort of false reality?

  10. The Bucks organization put out a statement supporting Brown and calling his treatment “shameful and inexcusable.”
    So the Bucks organization is hateful towards the handicapped? Bigoted against the disabled? They are saying in public statements that illegally blocking multiple handicapped spaces is an action that should be supported.

    Did they put out a statement calling Brown’s illegal actions “bigoted against the handicapped and inexcusable”?
    Did they put out a statement saying Brown would be directed into sensitivity training concerning the physical and mental anguish of being disabled?
    Did they put out a statement saying Brown would be fined tens of thousand of dollars for disrespect, and the fine donated to a local rehabilitation facility for the indigent disabled?
    Did they put out a statement that Brown’s car would be publicly keyed so he would no longer feel the need to confiscate multiple handicapped parking spaces?
    Didn’t think so.

    1. What the fuck does that matter?

    2. If you think the real scandal in this story is some guy parking in handicapped spots at 2 AM instead of police calling 7 cars to detain and taser a guy for that then you have very fucked up priorities and really need to change your handle.

      1. I noticed almost none of the stories even called Brown the N-word!!!

  11. But then the Texas Department of Public Safety released two hours of the officer’s body camera video showing that nothing even remotely inappropriate happened during the course of her arrest and police detention. Merritt subsequently put out a press release taking responsibility for amplifying the case into a national story and apologizing for the trouble caused by the false accusation

    And of course, Merritt has been disbarred and fined by the bar association?
    And of course Sherita Dixon-Cole has been arrested for making a false police report?
    Didn’t think so.

    1. If he was acting on what he was told by his client, then no. Clients lie to their attorneys all the time.

    2. You sound like a loyal cop succor, Longtobefree

  12. I hope Sterling Brown learned his lesson: Don’t give cops an excuse to fuck with you.

  13. Why are cops so fucking fat.

    1. I’m sure that the physical fitness standards are on par with the low intelligence standards required for enrollment in most police academies.

      1. But they’re like… head fat. Not just pot bellies. Fat all over. Like is that what donuts and rage do to you?

  14. It is little wonder that you are a junior staffer, Mr. Shackford. What a lopsided story. Police abuse far exceeds that by people who are stopped by the police. That includes killing by one side or the other. May I suggest that you spend some time in research, otherwise you will continue to write outlandish stories.

  15. That police conduct is described as “gallant” for refraining from sexually assaulting a prisoner is a telling point.

    1. That’s the smartest thing I’ve ever seen you write.

  16. i’d like to know why you did not obtain the camera footage from the Texas incident showing the suspect who was ultimately guilty vs a 30 minute video of an innocent? suspect arguing with the cops who had cause to question the man. the police response was way over the top in the 1st case. what was the police response in the second case?

  17. It’s almost like objective truth (video recording) is good for good people and bad for bad people. Who’d a thunk it?

  18. Why are the cops even giving tickets on private property? It was clearly inside the parking lot at the Walgreen’s. Did someone from Walgreen’s call the police? This did not appear to be a city or county road where they have jurisdiction. And when I first heard about this the whole thing was very troubling to me. I’m sure if I had been the driver, (I wouldn’t have parked that way in the first place, but go with my hypothetical) the officer would have issued me a parking ticket, which is a non moving violation. I would have been upset but no other officers would have been called. We would have gone on our way. I probably would have cursed the cop once I got back in my car after he left. Yes, I’m a 64 year old white man. I’m not sure what the state laws are in Wisconsin but most states they just leave the ticket on the window, no signature required. This was way beyond what was necessary from the get-go.

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