The venerable police of my city are bracing for backlash


My hometown of Milwaukee has a bit of history of police violence, which I believe is pretty well known at this point. Less well known is a history of making professional athletes feel, let’s say unwelcome. With the story of Sterling Brown, who plays for the Bucks, these two aspects converge. Earlier this year Brown committed the heinous crime of parking across two disability parking spaces at Walgreens, followed by a confrontation with a cop which led to him being tased and arrested. Parking in a disability parking space is a dick move, but one I would say is somewhat mitigated by the fact that this occurred at 2am – I doubt the parking lot was very full. Nonetheless, I would hope most agree it’s not a tase-worthy offense.

[As an aside, Brown was released from custody at around 5am. Later that same day he played with a busted face and tallied 4 points and 9 board in a win. Pretty bad ass IMO. Also, the game featured this awesome Giannis dunk:

Let’s have a look at what Milwaukee Police union president Mike Crivello had to say shortly after the incident:

Special treatment for special people [regarding perceived mayoral interference].

You put your hands on and/or strike a police officer who is doing nothing more than what he is sworn to do, what he is paid to do, what all other citizens should want him to do, you need to go to jail and you need to at least have the charges referred to the district attorney’s office.

Hm. Sounds like he had some insider info. Or is a huge piece of shit. Or both! By this point in the saga it wasn’t known exactly what happened.

Bucks fandom was largely supportive of Brown. However, there were, of course, rats crawling out of the sewer spewing barely disguised racism. How dare Brown get uppity with the noble policeman whose only goal in life is to keep the city safe! I don’t think many were Bucks fans. For a little background, a lot of white people in Wisconsin hate the Bucks and the NBA in general, while at the same time lionize the more fundamental-driven [read: less black] college game. Many of these upstanding citizens seemed to heartily enjoy a black professional athlete of a league they don’t like being put in his place.

Up until yesterday, it was perplexing how tight-lipped everyone had been, from Brown, to the Bucks, to the authorities. After the hoopla within a few days of the event, next to nothing came out. It appeared that the story would get swept under the rug, with many theorizing that Brown was being an asshole while the cop overreacted. It appears this might not be the case:

Brown did not appear combative or threatening when officers questioned him about a parking violation in January, according to two sources who have watched the video. The sources asked that their names not be used because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about it.

[…]

“This could be bad,” said one source who watched the video. “The player doesn’t appear to be provocative at all.”

[…]

Police officials have been preparing community leaders for the release of the body-camera footage by showing it to selected local officials, including a closed session of a Common Council committee.

[…]

Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson Sr. referred to the Brown video in a speech at a Milwaukee church Sunday during the city’s Ceasefire Sabbath.

“There’s going to be a video that’s going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department, and I’m going to honest with you, we’re going to need your support during the challenges,” he said, according to video posted on WITI-TV.

What the nature of the anticipated “backlash” will be, who knows? Will it only amount to mere backlash? Could it morph into unrest? Or perhaps a riot?

Earlier this month, cops beat the shit out of a kid at a mall in Wauwatosa (a lily white suburb that uncomfortably shares a border with the city proper (as distinct from adjacent lily white suburbs safely insulated from the terrors of the inner city)). The “backlash” thus far has merely been bad PR. Brown’s case will likely result in the same, but with the added annoyance (to the MPD) of national attention. But it will all eventually fade away, as all stories of this nature do.

One wonders if this would have received even local attention were it not for Brown’s cachet as a professional athlete. God only knows how many stories like this there are that don’t receive any publicity whatsoever. I’ve thought about this often over the years and it always makes me feel angry, sad and hopeless.

ETA: Right as I posted this I found out Brown is suing the MPD.

Comments

  1. says

    Um, no. Taking the handicap space is not a “dick move”.

    It’s ILLEGAL to park there unless you have a permit AND the disabled person the permit is issued to is entering or exiting the car.

    It is not “mitigated” by time of day or the number of cars in the lot.

    It is a crime.

    Take it from a disabled person who knows their shit.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It is illegal AND a dick move.

    I do agree that I have forgiven Jesus was somewhat downplaying it, but I think we can agree that even in the most inflammatory of situations that involve parking in an reserved accessible space do not justify police violence.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    It’s an illegal dick move that required a ticket. And I imagine the cop took a look at the car (and picture the sort of car a professional athlete drives…) and got a pretty good idea of how much a ticket was going to hurt someone who probably makes that cop’s annual salary every week. This is not to justify it in any way – rich people are entitled dicks who think they can get away with that shit and they’re right and cops do need to just suck it up.

    Withholding the bodycam footage, though – that’s not a dick move, that’s an idiot move. It shows they’ve got something to hide and that they know it. It’s withholding evidence. Sooner or later it’s going to have to become standard practice that at the end of a shift a cop turns in his bodycam, the footage gets run through an anonymiser like the one on Google Earth that blurs out faces, and then the whole thing gets uploaded to the cloud, unedited, for public view. And if that cam gets switched off or “damaged” suspiciously, the cop wearing it is suspended without pay for tampering with evidence. By keeping the footage to themselves, and worse still referring to the “challenges” likely when it’s eventually released, they cops are basically saying “This looks (and therefore is) really, really bad.”

    More and more the police forces of the US resemble a hostile occupying military force. Why the people haven’t already followed the example of the people of Northern Ireland I don’t know.

  4. silverfeather says

    Yeah. I can simultaneously think that parking across two accessible parking spots is an entitled, shitty thing to do that deserves negative (non-violent) consequences, and also that this is just one more example of our racist, authoritarian, murderous bullies in cop uniforms proving why modern American policing needs to be abolished.

  5. EigenSprocketUK says

    With the new NFL policy of denying “taking the knee” when on the field, and instead forcing players to lurk in the changing rooms, I hope that the entire team stays in the changing room, brings its own flag (if that’s what you have to do in the states), and takes the knee together.
    Then bring in a camera, and broadcast it to the field. On the JumboTron.
    If such shenanigans cause the presidents (NFL+states) to have a rupture, then that seems a reasonable outcome.

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