By IVAN MORENO, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee officer involved in the stun gun arrest of Bucks’ player Sterling Brown has been fired because of social media posts mocking the incident, the city’s police chief said Thursday.
Police Chief Alfonso Morales said the firing decision was not tied to anything Erik Andrade did when Brown was arrested, but explained that the social media posts compromised the officer’s ability to testify in other cases. Morales spoke about the case at a Marquette University event.
Brown sued the police department in June and accused officers of using excessive force and targeting him because he’s black. A group of officers swarmed on him at a Walgreens parking lot because he didn’t immediately remove his hands from his pockets. Brown was standing with the officers waiting for a citation for parking in a disabled spot early on Jan. 26, but never appeared to threaten police before or during his arrest, according to police body camera videos.
Andrade later mocked Brown on Facebook for his arrest.
“Nice meeting Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks at work this morning! Lol#FearTheDeer,” one Facebook post read, referencing a slogan used to cheer on the Bucks at games. Andrade also posted a racist meme of Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant.
Morales said in a statement that Andrade’s posts violate the department’s social media policies.
“They have a racist connotation and are derogatory, mocking an individual who was recently the subject of officers’ use of force,” Morales said. “Such comments also directly affect his credibility and ability to testify in future hearings as a member of this Department. I have not, and will not, tolerate such behavior.”
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Andrade was at the scene when Brown was arrested but was not among the officers who took him down, according to police. A total of 11 officers involved in the arrest were disciplined or retrained, but Andrade was not among those punished at the time.
The president of the Milwaukee Police Association, Mike Crivello, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on behalf of Andrade. Andrade does not have a listed phone number.
Morales apologized to Brown for his officers’ actions and the Bucks’ second-year guard was never charged with anything.