Dramatic video shows a Tacoma police vehicle appearing to hit and run over pedestrians at a street race in Washington State. You can see the videos throughout this article, but be forewarned that they are disturbing and also contain profanity.
In this video, you hear engines revving and someone says, “Oh my God.” Police lights whir in the background. It appeared that multiple people were struck with possibly one being run over, although that was not definitively clear. No one was killed in the incident.
Someone swears. Then a police vehicle appears to speed up and drive into multiple people. “He hit those people,” someone says. Multiple people fall down as the squad drives off. “Holy f***,” a person says.
9th and Pacific Ave in Tacoma pic.twitter.com/C76iq2Eimw
— Jason Gauthier (@jasonjgauthier) January 24, 2021
The Tacoma News Tribune spoke to the man who shot the main video. The newspaper gave his name only as Mark. He told the newspaper that he “saw five to six cars spinning in circles on South 9th Street between the intersections of Court A and Pacific Avenue” before the incident.
People “swarmed” the police car to try to “block” it, he told the newspaper. The Tacoma police said in a press statement that about 100 people were blocking streets due to the street racers, and people started pounding on his windows and vehicle, so he felt unsafe.
“He was afraid they would break his glass,” the spokeswoman told the newspaper, saying he sped away fearing for his safety; one person went to the hospital with a laceration.
“I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use of deadly force incident,” said Interim Police Chief Mike Ake in a statement. “I send my thoughts to anyone who was injured in tonight’s event, and am committed to our Department’s full cooperation in the independent investigation and to assess the actions of the department’s response
during the incident.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say the Officer Feared for His Safety
My wife was there. Apparently there were 10 guys on the cop car trying to bust his windows out when he took off.
— A-A-Ron (@pnwestcoastbias) January 24, 2021
Tacoma police released a statement providing some details. “At approximately 6:19 p.m. this evening, South Sound 911 received numerous reports of an incident occurring at the intersection of South 9th and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma,” they wrote.
“There were multiple vehicles and approximately 100 people present blocking the intersection when officers arrived on scene. Tacoma Police officers responding to the location began clearing the intersection of vehicles and people for the safety of those gathered and people trying to use the street.”
During the operation, a responding Tacoma police vehicle was surrounded by the crowd. People hit the body of the police vehicle and its windows as the officer was stopped in the street. The officer, fearing for his safety, tried to back up, but was unable to do so because of the crowd. The officer had his lights and sirens activated. While trying to extricate himself from an unsafe position, the officer drove forward striking one individual and may have impacted others. The officer stopped at a point of safety and called for medical aid. One person was transported to an area hospital. That person’s condition is, at this time, unknown.
They added, “Tacoma Police Department has contacted the Pierce County Force Investigation Team (PCFIT) and turned the investigation over to them to conduct an independent investigation of this incident.”
Videos Show People Doing ‘Burnouts’ Before the Police Arrived
— Rahsaan〽️ (@marcelhoopla) January 24, 2021
One Twitter user wrote, “Just witnessed a Tacoma police officer run over a civilian while in pursuit of someone doing burnouts.”
Another video, which you can see above, captured the cars spinning around before police arrived.
— Jason Gauthier (@jasonjgauthier) January 24, 2021
However, a man wrote on Twitter, “My wife was there. Apparently there were 10 guys on the cop car trying to bust his windows out when he took off.”
David Begnaud, a CBS News journalist, wrote on Twitter, “Tacoma police now tell CBS News the crowd that gathered at 9th & Pacific Avenue in Tacoma was in excess of 100 people. The crowd was blocking intersections with vehicles. Police say, one officer had lights and sirens on, surrounded by crowd, some banging on windows & trying to break windows of his patrol car. The officer involved drove up the road to a point of safety, and other officers responded to the scene to treat the injured civilian.”
The Car Meet ‘Got Out of Control,’ a Witness Wrote
Car meet at 9th and Pacific downtown has gotten out of control. Cops are swarming, reports of Molotov cocktails being thrown, and a cop car ran through the crowd as bystanders surrounded their car pic.twitter.com/wQBJpgffsF
— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@jadycakes253) January 24, 2021
People wrote that the “car meet” got “out of control.”
One Twitter user wrote, “Car meet at 9th and Pacific downtown has gotten out of control. Cops are swarming, reports of Molotov cocktails being thrown, and a cop car ran through the crowd as bystanders surrounded their car.”
According to KIRO 7, two women said “a group of people were hit by the officer.”
Some people on social media were falsely saying the incident occurred at a “protest,” but it happened during a street race.
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