By Ken Reed
Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown is suing the city of Milwaukee, its police chief and eight police officers involved in a parking ticket altercation back in January. Brown, who’s African-American, was tased and arrested in the incident. He was issued a parking citation but wasn’t charged with a crime.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has apologized for the officers’ behavior, saying they acted “inappropriately.” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said, “No citizen should be treated this way.”
Brown’s lawsuit alleges unlawful arrest, excessive use of force and violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. It also claims the officers involved collaborated to conceal their alleged inappropriate actions. Brown also claims the officers involved inappropriately treated a parking violation as a criminal offense.
“For too long, African-American men have been arrested and abused and killed as a result of bad police work,” said Brown’s attorney, Mark Thomsen. “That work is a stain on this city and an insult to good police officers in this city and county.”
Milwaukee police were slow in releasing video of the incident, taken from officers’ body cams. Ultimately, there were two sets of footage released. The second set shows an officer stepping on the subdued Brown’s ankle during his arrest, despite his legs lying motionless on the ground after he was tased. It also shows other officers mocking the NBA player, according to a CNN report.
Following an internal affairs investigation, two sergeants were suspended without pay for “failing to be a role model for professional police service.” Another officer was suspended for “failing to treat a member of the public with courtesy and professionalism.” Eight other officers are scheduled to receive remedial training in professional communications.
“It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment,” according to a statement released by the Milwaukee Bucks.
That’s a key takeaway from this unfortunate incident. If a professional athlete is treated this way, with body cams rolling, one can imagine how an average African-American — who isn’t a public figure — might be treated by police, especially if no body cams are involved.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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