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Bucks’ Brown decries ‘police intimidation’ during arrest – See for yourself

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  • MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been disciplined for acting “inappropriately” after the Bucks player was zapped with a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation in January.

    Brown, who is African-American, said in a statement Wednesday that the incident was “an attempt at police intimidation” and that it “shouldn’t happen to anybody.” Community groups in Milwaukee have criticized police for how they handled Brown.

    Police Chief Alfonso Morales’ apology at a news conference Wednesday came as police released body camera footage that showed how a simple interaction over an illegally parked car quickly escalated. The video, which was released because an internal investigation had concluded, represents another setback for a department that for years has tried to rebuild its image and relationship with Milwaukee’s black residents after several high-profile cases of police misconduct.

    Police did not identify the races of the officers, but most of the officers in the video appeared to be white.

    It began around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26 in a Walgreens parking lot. As Brown walks out of the store, an officer standing by Brown’s car asks him for his driver’s license. When Brown gets close to his car’s passenger door, the officer touches Brown and he tells the officer not to touch him.

    “Back up! Back up!” the officer yells. “For what? I ain’t did nothing,” Brown responds. Brown eventually shows the officer his driver’s license.

    The conversation between the officer and Brown is testy as they wait for additional squad cars to show up. Brown says he has no problem with the officer’s questions and the officer responds that he touched him “because you got up in my face.”

    “I got up on your face? Really?” Brown responds in disbelief.

    It takes a turn for the worse when Brown, surrounded by four officers near his car, is asked to take his hands out of his pockets. Almost immediately a scuffle ensues, with the officers swarming over Brown and one yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!”

    Brown is heard groaning in pain on the ground, although he’s barely visible from the camera’s viewpoint.

    Brown was not charged with anything.

    “Our department conducted an investigation into the incident, which revealed members acted inappropriately and those members were recently disciplined,” Morales said at the brief news conference.

    “I am sorry this incident escalated to this level,” he added.

    He left without taking questions. He did not identify the officers or say how they were disciplined.

    Brown, in his statement released Wednesday, said the experience “was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

    “What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by the unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tased, and then unlawfully booked,” he said. “This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.”

    The Milwaukee Bucks signed the 6-foot-6 guard from Southern Methodist University in Texas last summer in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Later in the video, after officers used the stun gun, Brown can be heard having a conversation with someone away from the view of the camera.

    “They tased me for no reason,” an agitated Brown says.

    “I asked you to step back and you didn’t do it,” the officer who had the initial interaction with Brown responds. Later, that same officer mocks Brown while talking to another officer about what happened, saying he thought Brown “was being an ass” and “trying to hide something.”

    “And now he’s like, ‘I’m a Bucks player, blah, blah, blah.’ So what,” the officer says.

    City officials’ concern over the content of the video was apparent earlier this week when Mayor Tom Barrett said he found it concerning.

    Fred Royal, the president of the NAACP in Milwaukee, said Wednesday that he “didn’t see anything that would warrant” a stun gun being used on Brown.

    “I find it disturbing that an officer would incite an argument over a parking citation,” Royal said.

    A day before releasing the body-camera footage, Morales posted a video on YouTube to reiterate his commitment to rebuilding the public’s trust in the department.

    “If there’s ever an incident where one of our members makes a mistake, unnecessarily escalating a situation, I’m going to be honest and transparent about it,” he said. “In those incidents, where we have made mistakes and are wrong, I’m sorry.”

    Morales was appointed chief in February, following the retirement of Edward Flynn, who held the position for 10 years.

    Last year, Milwaukee paid $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man fatally shot by a police officer after the officer roused him from a park bench downtown. The officer said he shot Hamilton 14 times in self-defence because they got into a struggle when the officer frisked him for weapons.

    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 city is considering settling a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin, which is representing eight residents who say police targeted them for stops because they were African-American or Latino and because of the high-crime areas where they lived.

    In early May, police and prosecutors began investigating four officers who were involved in the violent arrest of a black man in a majority African-American neighbourhood. Video from a bystander showed a group of officers kicking and punching the man on the ground while he was restrained. Police presented their body-camera footage of the encounter, which showed the man aggressively charging at officers and trying to punch them.

    Ivan Moreno, The Associated Press




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    Five Alberta high school football players hurt in crash at highway intersection

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  • RAYMOND, Alta. — Five players with a high school football team are being treated for injuries in hospitals following a collision at a rural highway intersection in southeastern Alberta.

    Raymond RCMP say a northbound pickup truck with a trailer on Highway 5 crashed into a westbound pickup that was entering Highway 52 on Thursday at about 5:45 p.m.

    Const. Mike Hibbs said five youths were in the westbound truck.

    Three were taken to a Calgary hospital — one with serious life-threatening injuries and two with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

    Two other youths were sent to a Lethbridge hospital with non-life- threatening injuries.

    “All five youth remain in hospital,” Hibbs said Friday.

    “The RCMP Raymond detachment and an RCMP collision analyst attended the scene and the investigation is still ongoing.”

    The driver of the other truck was not hurt.

    The Southern Alberta Minor Football Association said the crash involved five players with the Raymond High School Comets.

    “Please say some prayers for these young men,” the association said in a post on social media.

    “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the football game versus Catholic Central that was scheduled at 5 PM, will no longer be played.”

    The Westwind School Division said students and staff have been deeply affected by the serious accident.

    “This is a heartbreaking and tragic accident and we recognize that students and families from several of our schools and communities will be impacted by it,” the division said on its website.

    “We join with the community in extending an outpouring of caring, compassion and support for our students who have been injured and their families.

    “We stand by you.”

     

    The Canadian Press


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    Alberta government says it would contribute $700M to Calgary Olympics

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  • CALGARY — The Alberta government says it would contribute up to $700 million if Calgary were to hold the 2026 Winter Olympics, but how the remaining costs would be divvied up remains unknown with just a month to go before a plebiscite on whether to bid.

    A draft plan for a potential bid pegs the total cost at $5.2 billion. It suggests the city, provincial and federal governments should contribute $3 billion of that. The remainder would come from Games revenue.

    Finance Minister Joe Ceci said in a letter to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and federal Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan that there wouldn’t be any cash beyond the $700 million.

    “The government of Alberta will not be able to provide any additional funds that may be required, including those to cover revenue shortfalls or cost overruns,” he wrote Friday.

    “Moreover, we will not be providing any form of guarantee for additional costs arising from any source.”

    Ceci said the money is contingent on Calgary being awarded the Games and on the bid winning majority support in a Nov. 13 non-binding plebiscite. The province insisted Calgary hold the vote and contributed $2 million to the cost.

    Another condition is that there would be increased transparency from bid organizers.

    “We believe that is in the best interest of the bid and what Albertans want and expect of their governments,” Ceci said at a news conference. “This is not an unsubstantial amount of money and Albertans should know where it goes and how it is dealt with.”

    Nenshi and Coun. Evan Woolley, chairman of the city’s Olympic assessment committee, said they would review the offer to contribute.

    “We’re pleased that the province has come forward with their investment,” they said in a statement. “We have to analyze this announcement, while continuing our conversations with the government of Canada.

    “We imagine there will be more to say about the city and federal government contributions in the next few days.”

    Duncan has expressed enthusiasm for a bid, but Ottawa has not said exactly how much it would contribute.

    Ceci said he’s confident citizens will know before the plebiscite how the federal and municipal governments might split the remaining $2.3 billion.

    “I, like Calgarians, want to know the full picture, and so I would be looking for information from the city of Calgary and the federal government with regard to what they’re prepared to put into this and they’ll have to do that on their schedule,” he said.

    Calgary 2026, the corporation leading bid efforts, has forecast $2.2 billion in direct private sector investment, a $2-billion boost to Alberta’s GDP and $200 million in provincial and municipal tax revenue if the Games were to go ahead.

    The plan calls for spending $400 million on two new venues — a fieldhouse and mid-sized arena — and $500 million to refurbish old ones that would be included in a bid, many of which date back to when Calgary held the 1988 Winter Games.

    Calgary and a combined Italian bid of Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo could be the only contenders for 2026. A coalition deal to run Stockholm’s city government on Friday leaves the Swedish capital’s potential bid in jeopardy.

    The deadline to submit a 2026 bid to the International Olympic Committee is Jan. 11. The successful host city is to be announced in June.

     

    Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press




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