One of the Milwaukee police officers involved in the arrest of Bucks player Sterling Brown has been fired, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Thursday.
Erik Andrade was fired for violating social media policy — not for his conduct the night Brown was tased and arrested, Morales said.
Brown filed a federal civil rights suit in June against the Milwaukee Police Department and the city, claiming wrongful arrest and excessive force during an altercation outside a Walgreens store.
In his lawsuit, Brown cited Facebook posts and "racist memes" shared by Andrade after the incident.
"According to our Standard Operating Procedure, members are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media to the degree that their speech is not disruptive to the mission of the department," Morales said in a statement.
"However, speech, on or off duty, pursuant to members’ official duties and professional responsibilities is not protected."
During an event at Marquette University earlier Thursday, Morales said he was concerned about the fired officer's past social media use being questioned in the future when his job requires him to testify in court about other cases.
"This is unfortunate … firing somebody is very serious in a profession such as this," Morales told Marquette Law School fellow Mike Gousha during an "On the Issues" event.
"But at the same time 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 ... then I can't utilize you," the chief said.
Andrade can appeal his firing to the Fire and Police Commission.