One of the officers who was present at the January tasing and arrest of Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks has been fired, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales announced on Thursday.
But it wasn't the officer’s role in the arrest that led to his termination. It was his actions on social media afterward.
Morales said he struggled with having to fire the officer — calling it “unfortunate,” but he said there’s a bigger picture. “For me, one of the most important functions of a police officer is to be able to testify in court, and if you can’t testify in court, that’s one of the functions I can’t utilize you,” Morales said.
He added that if the officer was to be called to testify in the Brown case, he doesn’t want that officer’s social media activities to bring the officer’s credibility into question.
“It’ll be a circus by putting this person on the stand, and they’re going to make a circus of the court every time this subject gets on the stand based on what was said.”
While Morales didn't share the officer’s name or specific social media posts, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the officer under investigation for social media posts was Erik Andrade. Reports say posts included comments like, “Nice meeting Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks at work this morning! #FeartheDeer.”
Morales said that the social media rules for the Milwaukee Police Department are clear: “In law enforcement, social media has adversely affected our private lives and the policy is explicit on your social media actions," he explained. "What’s important about that is if you bring our department into your social media communication, you’re going to have to answer for it.”
Andrade and several other officers were disciplined following the Brown tasing and arrest, but Andrade is the only who's been fired.
During the January incident, officers confronted Brown in a Walgreen’s parking lot on the Milwaukee's south side for double parking in a handicapped spot. After multiple officers arrived on the scene, and heated conversation, Brown was ultimately tased and arrested – he was not charged.
Brown filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the police department over the summer.
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