Sterling Brown on turning down settlement from Milwaukee: ‘It was just a slap in the face’

Sterling Brown has no regrets turning down a $400,000 settlement offer from the city of Milwaukee after an incident in a Walgreens parking lot last January. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

While Milwaukee offered Sterling Brown a $400,000 settlement offer in his lawsuit against its police department stemming from an incident at a Walgreens last year, the Bucks guard turned it down.

He has no regrets about that decision, either.

“They tried to get me to settle for it,” Brown said, via ESPN. “I feel like it was just a slap in the face, and I can’t get into too many details, but there’s other things that we’re trying to push.

“The money is not the biggest concern. It’s not a priority for me. It’s the other things involved, so we’re going to keep fighting.”

The 24-year-old was swarmed by several officers around 2 a.m. last January in a near-empty Walgreens parking lot over a simple parking violation. Brown was confronted by an officer in the parking lot before at least five other police vehicles arrived. Despite him not appearing to act aggressively in body camera footage of the arrest, Brown was forcefully taken to the ground, tased and arrested. 

The Bucks released a powerful statement after footage of his arrest was made public, slamming the “shameful and inexcusable” actions of the Milwaukee police department. The department has since apologized for the incident, and an officer was fired in September over several racist and mocking social media posts directed toward Brown and other NBA players.

Brown —  who is averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds this season in Milwaukee, his third in the league — has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the police department, which is still ongoing. 

Brown’s father, Chris Brown, worked as a police officer in the Chicago area for 30 years, too — something that has made this experience that much harder for Brown personally. 

“I’m kind of split in the decision, because I grew up around some of them. My dad was one of them, so I’ve got respect for the guys behind the badge because of what they’re trying to do,” Brown said, via ESPN. “I saw how they’ve helped a lot of people in the neighborhood, so I’ve got a lot of respect for those individuals, but as far as the badge, it’s kind of hard to find that respect because I know the history behind it.

“I know what it was started for, I know what it came up on and I know what they do. It’s kind of split for me, but I don’t have no problem or I don’t feel uncomfortable being around them or no other man.”

But at this point, Brown said his lawsuit has nothing to do with any settlement he may receive. He doesn’t care about the money.

As an NBA player with a platform bigger than most, he knows how important it is to make sure his story is heard. 

“They tried to throw a few dollar amounts at me just to get me to shut up, and I really couldn’t take it because I’m not doing it for myself anymore, I’m doing it for everybody else around,” Brown said, via ESPN. 

“I’ve got plenty of people going through the same thing in Chicago and back home. So I know it’s happening in Milwaukee, so I’m pretty much being that voice for those who don’t have a platform that I have to make this national news, to make this [discussed] around the country.”

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