On Wednesday evening, after a brief press conference, the Milwaukee police department released disturbing footage of Bucks guard Sterling Brown's Jan. 26 arrest.
In the video, Brown, who is surrounded by several officers, speaks with police and follows orders. Soon after, however, the mood changes and Brown is told to take his hands out of his pockets and is forcibly taken to the ground and tased. In the background of the video, Brown can be heard writhing in pain.
When information from the arrest initially hit the news, it was sold as a parking-ticket dispute gone awry. Brown, who played in the Bucks' game against the Nets later that night, declined to discuss the incident at the time and deemed it a personal issue. But his teammates and coaches knew different, Bucks forward Khris Middleton told The Crossover on Wednesday.
“We saw him the day after the incident at practice," Middleton said. "We saw the bruises and marks on his face and cuts on him. He explained briefly what happened, but at that time he just wanted to keep it private so we respected that.”
(Warning: The video below contains graphic imagery.)
After the release of the footage, Brown spoke out about his experience in a lengthy Twitter post, calling the incident an "attempt at police intimidation" and describing the issue of police brutality as "bigger than me."
The Bucks followed suit and issued a statement in support of Brown, describing the abuse he suffered as "shameful and inexcusable" and expanded on the issue to say, "Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated case. 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."
Brown, who plans to file a lawsuit against the city, asked for peaceful support and called attention to the rising tension between the black community and law enforcement in his statement.
Asked if he will support his teammate's future plans to address police brutality, Middleton said he expects the entire team to get behind Brown.
“For sure we’re going to rally around him,” Middleton said. “He’s our brother, he’s our teammate. We’re going to be there for him.”