A Washington state police officer is temporarily on leave after his patrol vehicle plowed through a crowd of pedestrians late Saturday, The Tacoma News-Tribune reports.
In footage provided to the newspaper by an eyewitness, the patrol vehicle can be seen approaching a group of pedestrians who had reportedly gathered at a Tacoma intersection in the center to watch a street race.
As the vehicle moves closer to the intersection, more people could be seen towards the front of it. The vehicle could then be seen reversing away before moving forward in the crowd and apparently driving some people over.
According to the local newspaper, one person was sent to the hospital after the incident.
“There were several vehicles and approx. 1
“During the operation, a responsive Tacoma police car was surrounded by the crowd,” the department continued. The agency claimed that “people hit the body of the police vehicle and its windows when the officer was stopped on the street.”
“The officer, who feared for his safety, tried to take backup but could not do so because of the crowd. The officer got his lights and sirens activated, ”the office said, adding:“ While trying to pull himself out of an unsafe position, the officer drove forward and hit an individual and may have affected others. ”
The department said it has turned the investigation into the incident against county officials.
In a statement to the paper, interim police chief Mike Ake said he was concerned the department was “experiencing another use of lethal force.”
“I send my thoughts to all those who were injured during tonight’s event and are committed to our departments’ full cooperation in the independent investigation and to assessing the actions of the department’s response during the incident,” he added.
The department was investigated amid weeks of protests against police brutality following Manuel Ellis’ death in March last year.
Ellis, a black man, died at the age of 33 in Tacoma. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that his death was a homicide after finding out he died of respiratory arrest caused by physical restraint after local police handcuffed him to the ground.
– Updated at 9:12