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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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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Legendary Basketball Coach Phil Allen Inducted into Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

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Phil Allen’s 805 wins are the most by a post secondary basketball coach in Canadian history, and along the way he had an immeasurable influence on players and the sport. Phil’s head coaching career started in Calgary with SAIT in 1978. In 14 seasons he led the Trojans to 9 provincial and 2 national championships, and in 1986, his team had a perfect 34-0 season. Phil moved on to coach at Grant MacEwan for 7 seasons, and then for another 5 years at Lakeland College based in Vermilion and Lloydminster. There, Allen lead the Rustlers to Nationals in 2008.

In Phil’s 26 seasons, his teams only missed the playoffs twice. He took 10 squads to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, winning twice. He was named the top college coach in Alberta three times, and the top college coach in Canada in 1983.

Throughout his career, Phil was always giving back. He ran basketball camps in Calgary for many years for junior and high school students. He coached the Alberta Wheelchair Basketball
Team for two seasons and the National Wheelchair Team for one. In Edmonton, Phil helped develop the Club Basketball System, allowing athletes to participate in basketball outside of their school teams.

Phil Allen was inducted onto the SAIT Wall of Distinction in 2004 and the ACAC Hall of Fame in 2014.

Todayville is proud to have produced the video profiles of this year’s Inductees. Check out other great stories by clicking this link.

Since it’s inception in 1957, hundreds of Albertans have been inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.  We invite everyone to join us in this celebration of both new Inductees and returning Honoured Members, and their lasting impact on sport in our province.  If you would like more information please call (403) 341-8614 or click here. 


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‘A blessing to be here together’: Humboldt survivors to attend NHL Awards

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LAS VEGAS — Kaleb Dahlgren pushes Ryan Straschnitzki’s wheelchair up a ramp and onto a riser.

Tyler Smith follows right behind and takes his spot in front of a sea of cameras and microphones inside a vast luxury hotel ballroom.

It’s not how they wanted it to be, but the Humboldt Broncos, some of them at least, are finally back together.

“Sharing stories and just kind of being (as much of) a team as we can again is important,” Smith said Tuesday. “We can cry together, we can do everything together and just kind of heal in our own way.

“It’s just a blessing to be here together.”

The Broncos were travelling together to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game on April 6 when their bus collided with a truck — a devastating crash on a flat, lonely stretch of Prairie highway that resulted in the deaths of 16 people, including 10 players.

Of the 13 that survived, 10 are at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the invitation of the league and NHLPA.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Straschnitzki, who was paralysed from the chest down. “These guys are such great guys to be around. It warms my heart. I’m really excited.”

The remaining Broncos had not been in the same place since the crash, with nine of them flying into Las Vegas on Monday before Straschnitzki joined on Tuesday from Philadelphia where he’s undergoing physiotherapy.

“You want to always go see your teammates,” Dahlgren said. “You’re with them four hours every day. You miss them. It’s nice to give everybody a hug and be with each other in this time.

“I’m just thankful that we’re all here together.”

The NHL Awards on Wednesday night will include a tribute to the Broncos, while Humboldt head coach Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the crash, is posthumously nominated for the inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.

One of Haugan’s slogans for his team was “It’s a Good Day to be a Bronco” — something his surviving players continue to live by.

“It was a very important quote,” Smith said. “A lot of guys will take that with us for the rest of our lives.

“We’re all going to be Broncos forever. No matter what day it is, it’s a great day to be a Bronco.”

The tragedy not only devastated the tight-knit community and province, but shook the hockey world as players and coaches from junior all the way up to the NHL reflected on the countless hours spent with teammates crisscrossing the country in buses on rural, wind-swept, winter roads.

“It means so much for hockey and for all the NHL players to be able to come and share a few words with them and talk and just joke around with them,” said Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who is up for the Ted Lindsay Award. “It’s great to see them here. Just think about how far they’ve come from only a short time ago.

“To see them here is really uplifting for all of us.”

Dahlgren said it didn’t take long for the Broncos to get back to some of the banter that used to echo through their locker room.

“We’re still giving each other the gears sometimes,” he said. “It’s good to have humour. You have to make the most of every situation that you’re in.

“We’re trying to be positive and have a good time with each other.”

Smith said the Broncos were far and away the closest team he was ever part of.

“Either way we would have been a family until the end,” he said. “That’s what made everything really hard. There’s one wish I had for my birthday — to bring everybody back and just be together once again.”

That they are, just with a big chunk of their heart still missing.

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press




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