'Be a voice for the voiceless:' Bucks team up with Kings to talk police-community race relations

SACRAMENTO -- Teaming up with the competition, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to improve police-community relations. Ahead of their game on Wednesday, Mar. 6 against the Sacramento Kings, the two franchises hosted a panel discussion on Friday, March 1.

"As Sterling Brown said, I want to be a voice for the voiceless," said Sterling Brown's attorney, Mark Thomsen.

Team Up for Change

Mark Thomsen

Sterling Brown's attorney Mark Thomsen was one of several guest speakers at "Team up for change." The social justice summit was hosted by the Bucks and Sacramento Kings in the wake of several recent negative interactions between police and men who are black in their respective communities.

"We can move forward if we accept the responsibility and try to develop trust," said Thomsen.

Thomsen spoke about the importance of the team standing behind Brown after he was arrested in January of 2018 for double parking in a handicap space.

Team Up for Change

"All of a sudden he's on the ground being Tased, one officer has pulled a gun," Thomsen said.

Brown has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department, alleging the officers used excessive force based on racial bias.

Sterling Brown arrest

"This is the essence of what has to change," Thomsen said. "We cannot allow this kind of racist attack to continue."

Law enforcement shouldn't shoulder the responsibility, says Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton.

Ashanti Hamilton

"One of the things that continues to come up is the feeling of safety that officers feels when they have to police communities where there's already high crime," Hamilton said.

Hamilton also shared his perspective on race relations in California. Following the fatal shootings of two MPD officers in the line of duty in less than one year, Hamilton says the solution starts with increasing economic opportunities for people in high-crime areas.

"So that you don't go in one edge, already because of the activity that's already happening in those neighborhoods," Hamilton said.

Team Up for Change

Hamilton says the two teams are planning to meet up again in a year for another summit. As for the Sterling Brown arrest, three officers were suspended and one was fired for posting inappropriate memes on Facebook about the incident.