Members of Milwaukee Common Council clarifying stance on Sterling Brown's civil rights lawsuit
They say they don’t agree with a city court filing that blames Brown for what happened during his January arrest, when he was thrown to the ground and tased while being arrested for a parking violation.
There was confusion at first about the Council’s message.
The joint statement from 13 of the 14 Council members was followed up about 20 minutes later by a second email saying the earlier statement was issued in error. It asked to please not use the earlier statement and discard it.
Council President Ashanti Hamilton says after the original statement went out, City Attorney Grant Langley, who filed the much-criticized document that partly blamed Brown, came to him with thoughts on the statement.
Hamilton decided to adjust the statement by adding a sentence that read, “Despite how we may sometimes feel about the legal process we must remember that it is important to honor that process.”
“It wasn’t like [the original statement] was a mistake,” Hamilton said. “It was a willingness to…honor that we don’t want to influence anybody’s political right to defend themselves.”
In the statement, the Council members say Langley’s response to Brown’s lawsuit doesn’t reflect the policy position of the city.
Langley said in a statement Monday the filing was essentially a legal necessity, and it doesn’t mean the city wants to go to trial.
Mayor Tom Barrett has said he would like to see the case resolved with a settlement.
Terry Witkowski was the only Council member not to sign Tuesday’s joint statement.
The Milwaukee Bucks released a statement saying Sterling continues to have their entire support and the team looks forward to improving neighborhoods, "Sterling continues to have our full support. What happened to him was shameful and inexcusable. We remain optimistic that meaningful progress can be made in our community in response to this incident. As we’ve stated, our organization is committed to work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community."
Sen. Lena Taylor also was troubled by Langley’s filing, issuing the following statement.