After the release of the video of the much-criticized arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown by Milwaukee Police, the head of the police officers' union says that using a Taser on Brown could have been the right move.
"If they didn't feel as though they were getting control of him before he had control of whatever that was in (Sterling Brown's) pocket, tasing may have been appropriate," said Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello on Wisconsin's Afternoon News. Three officers have reportedly been disciplined for their actions in the situation.
Crivello said it would be fully impossible for him to tell definitively because he was not on scene on January 26 when the Taser was used, but he explained what he perceived could have been the thought process of officers.
"He's a big guy. He's strong. His hands are in his pocket. You tell him to take his hands out of his pocket and he says something about 'hanging on to something.' I get hypervigilant at that point. I'm going to take control of his arm. He tenses up, and then the pull is on."
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- Statement from Milwaukee Bucks: Arrest was "shameful and inexcusable"
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Eight officers had come to the scene of the confrontation with Brown at 2 a.m. on January 26 at the Walgreens parking lot, which potentially led to a large percentage of the available MPD force in that district coming to the scene.
"I would tell you that I don't want to give the strategy of the police department out, but if someone has told you that was probably in likelihood all the officers on the street, that could very well be. We are that short (staffed). Why do they all come? They hear someone call for help and they respond as quickly as possible. It becomes the responsibility of leadership to figure out whether they need these guys, or 'let me hang on to these guys for a little while until we figure out what's going on,' " said Crivello.
When it came to issues about police staffing, Crivello chose to criticize Mayor Tom Barrett, who went on Wisconsin's Morning News and took offense to the Milwaukee Police Association statement that "city leadership and the former chief [who never supported proper staffing] truly need to self-examine. Our force is so drastically understaffed that negative outcomes are inevitable!" as posted on their Facebook page.
"When I asked the police union to help us get more funds from the state government, and they totally, totally, totally walked the other way. I'm thinking 'you've got to be kidding me, You've got to be kidding me to have the gall to say that,' " said Barrett.
"The way he interprets reality suggests that maybe he needs to have some serious self-reflection and see if he can continue to do the job he's going. He's wrong. He's absolutely wrong," said Crivello.
"If (the first officer on scene in the Sterling Brown case) would have had a partner, that situation would have been handled and we wouldn't be having this conversation today."