Officer Under Investigation After Police Car Hits Pedestrians at Street Race Incident, 2 Injured

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 24, 2021US News
Officer Under Investigation After Police Car Hits Pedestrians at Street Race Incident, 2 Injured
Tacoma Police and other law enforcement officers stand in an intersection near the site of a car crash in downtown Tacoma, Wash., on Jan. 23, 2021. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)

TACOMA, Wash.—At least two people were injured when a police officer responding to a report of a street race plowed his car through a crowd of pedestrians that had gathered around him and were pounding on the car’s windows in downtown Tacoma on Saturday night, officials said.

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. as about 100 people were blocking an intersection and watching several cars spinning in circles, police told The News Tribune of Tacoma.

A police car arrived, then drove through the crowd after people tried to block the vehicle, a witness said.

Video posted on social media shows the police car hitting several people and running over at least one person.

“He had tire marks all over his body,” witness Cory Le told KTBS-TV. “Belly out. His shoes were off. Honestly, it was like something out of a movie.”

Tacoma police spokesperson Wendy Haddow told the newspaper that police were notified shortly after 6 p.m. of the street racers.

Haddow said a responding officer used his car’s bullhorn to address the crowd as police were trying to clear an intersection. The officer’s vehicle was then surrounded by a crowd of people who began pounding on the windows, she said.

“The officer, fearing for his safety, tried to back up, but was unable to do so because of the crowd,” Tacoma Police said in a statement.

The officer then “drove forward striking one individual and may have impacted others,” police said. He then “stopped at a point of safety and called for medical aid.” The officer driving the vehicle has not been named.

One person sustained cuts in the collision and was taken to a hospital, Haddow said.

Puyallup Police Capt. Dan Pashon told KCPQ-TV that a second person was treated at the hospital and released.

City Manager Elizabeth Pauli said the officer involved will be placed on leave. The Pierce County Force Investigation Team will handle the case, Pauli said.

Interim Police Chief Mike Ake released a statement saying he was concerned about another “use of deadly force incident,” and promised his department’s full cooperation in the investigation.

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