Tacoma police vehicle drives through crowd in viral video
A spokesperson says the unidentified officer feared for his safety and has been placed on leave while the incident is under investigation
During a street race in downtown Tacoma, Washington on Saturday night, a police officer ran over pedestrians. A witness at the scene captured the incident on video, which has since gone viral. The officer involved is now under investigation.
As reported by The News Tribune, Tacoma police said that a 911 call was received at 6:19 p.m. concerning multiple vehicles and a group of about 100 people that had converged and blocked a downtown intersection. Around 7 p.m., police had arrived to disperse the crowd.
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The Tacoma police statement said a crowd had surrounded the police car and began to “hit the body of the police vehicle and its windows.” This continued despite the car flashing its sirens and lights. The witness who videotaped the incident, who identifies as Mark, also saw people surrounding the police car.
“A lot of people swarmed in that direction (of the police car),” Mark said. “They were intending to block him.”
The police then indicated that “While trying to extricate himself from an unsafe position, the officer drove forward striking one individual and may have impacted others.” The video captured the car running through the people, with one being run over the car completely.
WARNING: This video is graphic and may triggering.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said that the officer, who is unidentified, reacted out of fear of the pedestrians surrounding his vehicles. “He was afraid they would break his glass,” Haddow said. She added that after the officer drove through the crowd, he stopped and called for medical assistance.
The injuries to the pedestrians are unknown at this time, however, one person has been hospitalized.
The officer has been placed on leave and the incident will be investigated by the Pierce County Force Investigation Team, according to City Manager Elizabeth Pauli.
Tacoma’s interim Police Chief Mike Ake, also commented on the incident. “I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use of deadly force incident,” Ake said. The other incident of deadly force Ake may be referring to is the 2019 shooting of Bennie Branch.
According to NBC K5, Branch, 24, was shot by Tacoma police during a traffic stop. Branch’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the department for excessive force last June.
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