Saturday night, a Tacoma police SUV drove through a crowd, knocking down several people and running over at least one. This occurred after the vehicle was surrounded by a mob that was apparently watching or participating in street racing downtown.
Police responded to reports of street racing at the South 900 Block of Pacific Avenue. Tacoma police spokeswoman, Officer Wendy Haddow, said the agency started receiving calls at 6:19 p.m. Upon arrival, the SUV was surrounded by people who were reportedly hitting the vehicle and threatening the officers inside. They ordered the crowd to disperse, then tried to back up but were completely surrounded. Then, this happened:
9th and Pacific Ave in Tacoma pic.twitter.com/C76iq2Eimw
— Jason Gauthier (@jasonjgauthier) January 24, 2021
Reactions on social media have been mixed. Some are saying the police officers were justified to protect their own lives from a mob that seemed bent on their harm. Others are saying it was an unnecessary use of deadly force. The Interim Tacoma Police Chief Mike Ake appears to support the latter judgment:
“I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use of deadly force incident. I send my thoughts to anyone who was injured in tonight’s event, and am committed to our Department’s full cooperating in the independent investigation and to assess the actions of the department’s response during the incident.”
Two people were injured during the incident, though one was released from the hospital quickly. Because this is considered use of a deadly force, the Pierce County Investigation Team is taking lead on the incident.
The Puyallup Police Department is the one doing the investigation. Captain Dan Pashon provided updates late into the evening on the investigation.
Pashon says his team will work to compile the facts of the incident. There is no timeline for how long this process will take. However, following the investigation there will be no decisions made as far as disciplinary or legal action. Following the incident, a small group of about two dozen protesters surrounded the scene. At least one person was taken away from the scene in handcuffs.
With every incident involving law enforcement being placed under more scrutiny than ever before, we can expect progressive leaders in the area to side with those who surrounded the vehicle, beat on it, and threatened the police inside.
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