In some cases when African-Americans are mistreated by the police in a public manner,their personal lives — and those of their family — are often written about before all the facts are out.
A former coach of Sterling Brown — the Milwaukee Bucks guard who was tased and arrested in January after two Milwaukee police officers spotted his car parked across two handicap spaces — wants to put a full-court press on any negative media coverage of his former player.
“He’s a good kid. We never got any backtalk from him. When you asked him to do something, he did it. He loves the game of basketball,” said Morgan Park High School coach Nick Irvin, who coached Brown with the Mac Irvin Fire AAU program.
“He was raised well by his family. His dad allowed us to teach him the game of basketball. I would drive up to Milwaukee and talk the game of basketball with him,” Irvin said. “I’m still in shock. He’s a good kid and not confrontational. He’s not the type to do something like that. I said, ‘Not Sterling.’ ”
Irvin told the Chicago Sun-Times that Brown, a Maywood native who starred at Proviso East High School, comes from a great family, with a father who serves as a suburban police officer.
“I’ve known the family for a long time. He’s never been disrespectful. It’s shocking. I was watching the videos with my brothers and we said if it happened to Sterling, it can happen to anybody,” Irvin said. “What do you say about this? I have a lot of friends who are police officers. You can’t say all police officers are like that but this puts a bad taste in my mouth that this happened to Sterling.”
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Irvin’s concerns were heightened whenMilwaukee’s Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson Sr. warned parishioners at a local church on Sunday that a video of the encounter would soon be released.
“There’s going to be a video that’s going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department,” Brunson said. “And I’m going to be honest with you, we’re going to need your support during the challenges.”
Irvin said that every player within the Mac Irvin Fire and his Morgan Park team are educated on how to deal with police officers when stopped.
“We have a retired police officer on our staff,” Irvin said. “He tells the players to be respectful of the police and don’t give them any lip. I tell my players all police officers aren’t bad, even though we have some that go overboard. We always talk to them about it. We make sure they do the right thing out here.”
News/Talk 1130 WISN , which first reported Brown’s arrest, cited a source saying that the Maywood native confronted the officers who were writing him a ticket and “became combative.”
The footage of Brown’s arrest was released on Wednesday — the same day that the NFL announced that their players would be fined for kneeling during the national anthem — showed otherwise, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
“He isn’t combative, isn’t threatening,” one source told the Journal-Sentinel. “Very bad.”
The Mac Irvin Fire released a statement regarding Brown’s ordeal, saying the team “fully supports Sterling Brown’s efforts as he attempts to address a serious issue in the United States: how law enforcement engages with citizens during disputes.
“The Mac Irvin Fire is proud of Brown for being willing to be a public face to address this critical issue and hopes a long-term solution can be reached for the benefit of all citizens. Throughout his time in the Mac Irvin Fire program, Brown displayed the character and behavior we expect from our program participants.”
On Wednesday, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Brown and said some of the officers involved in his arrest had been disciplined.
Brown, who plans to file a civil rights lawsuit, is not the first person of color to have a run-in with Milwaukee police.
In 2016, the city paid $5 million to settle a lawsuit by 74 black residents who said police illegally strip-searched them between 2008 and 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin also has a pending lawsuit alleging the department has for years targeted black and Latino residents by stopping and questioning them without cause.
Irvin lauded the fact that Brown played in the Bucks’ next game despite his ordeal.
“After being roughed up by the police, he went on to put on a show for the fans. That shows what type of player he is. You can learn a lot about a person that way. I commend him for standing up and fighting for what he believes in.”